The public campaigning for by-elections in 15 Assembly constituencies of nine districts in Karnataka came to a close this evening. However, the door to door canvassing and the last-ditch efforts to win over the voters through all possible means will continue unabated for the 5 December polls.
Thanks to the resignation of 14 Indian National Congress (INC) and three Janata Dal-Secular [JD(S)] Members of the Legislative Assembly the forthcoming by-elections have been necessitated.
KR Rameshkumar, Speaker during the tenure of JD(S)-INC coalition government in Karnataka, had disqualified all the 17 MLAs’ and had also barred them from contesting the elections till the end of the tenure of the present Assembly.
The Supreme Court after hearing the pleas of disqualified legislators upheld the ruling of the Speaker disqualifying them from the membership of the house but permitted them to re-contest the elections.
Since the defeated Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidates have contested the victories of Congress MLAs of Rajarajeshwarinagar constituency in Bengaluru Urban district and Maski constituency in Raichuru district, by-elections are not being held there as of now.
The present by-elections have given rise to a piquant political condition like never before. The ruling BJP leaders and workers have been compelled into such an embarrassing situation that they have been forced to toil for the very same rivals they had been fighting all along in their political career.
For both, Congress and JD(S) leaders defeating the party deserters is of prime importance rather than ensuring the victory of their own party candidates while winning in at least six seats is mandatory for the saffron party to continue in power.
If poll statistics of two previous general elections held during 2013 and 2018 are any criteria and the trends evinced during these two elections can be taken into consideration the possible outcome looks to be in favour of the ruling BJP.
Let us have a glance of such statistics in the 15 constituencies.
Karnataka: Athani (Belagavi district)
The constituency bordering the neighbouring State of Maharashtra has always been witnessing a tussle between Laxman Savadi, Deputy Chief Minister of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Mahesh Kumatalli earlier with the Congress party.
But now these hitherto adversaries are in the same party! The challenge before Laxman Savadi is to ensure the victory of his former rival! The Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has also publicly declared of continuing Laxman Savadi as a Minister apart from inducting Mahesh Kumatalli also as another minister if elected.
Mahesh Kumatalli won the 2018 Karnataka election on a Congress ticket by polling 82,094 votes (48.74%) defeating Laxman Savadi who lost by a meagre margin of 2,331 votes. Laxman Savadi had polled 79,763 votes (47.36%).Girish Butali of the Janata Dal-Secular [JD(S)] polled 1,562 votes (0.93%).
But Laxman Savadi had trounced the very same Mahesh Kumatalli by a big margin during the 2013 Assembly polls. He had defeated him by 23,771 votes by bagging 74,299 votes (50.79%) while Mahesh Kumatalli came second by garnering 50,528 votes (34.54%). Sadashiv Butali of the JD(S) got 15,204 votes (10.30%).
Karnataka: Kagwad (Belagavi district)
Here again, it is a political fight between two personalities who have been continuously changing parties for personal political career devoid of any policy of public interest. Shrimant Patil formerly Congress MLA is now the ruling BJP candidate while Bharamagouda Kage, former BJP MLA is the Congress candidate!
In 2018 polls Shrimant Patil of the INC tasted a handsome victory by defeating Bharamagouda Kage of the BJP by a huge margin of 32,942 votes. He polled 83,060 votes (56.99%) while Bharamagouda Kage remained far behind by managing to get only 50,118 votes (34.39%). Kalappa Magennavar of the JD(S) got 7,337 votes (5.03%).
However, it was a tough fight between the same adversaries during the 2013 polls. Bharamagouda Kage struggled to win by defeating Shrimant Patil with a margin of 2,887 votes. Bharamagouda Kage of the BJP scored 41,784 votes (32.34%) and Shrimant Patil of the Janata Dal-Secular party got 38,897 votes (30.11%). Kirankumar Patil of the INC came third polling 33,057 votes (25.59%).
Karnataka: Gokak (Belagavi district)
Ramesh Jarkiholi, according to his own claims is the mastermind behind toppling the previous JD(S)-INC coalition government is the ruling BJP candidate here. He has represented the same constituency for five consecutive terms on behalf of the Congress party.
Lakhan Jarkiholi, his own brother is his Congress rival now while Ashok Pujari, his traditional rival is the JD(S) candidate. Gokak has remained a family bastion of the Jarkiholi brothers. For public consumption, the Jarkiholi brothers remain in different parties only to ensure that one of them continues to remain a minister irrespective of the party in power.
Ramesh Jarkiholi won the constituency for INC during the 2018 polls by bagging 90,249 votes (51.87%) and defeated Ashok Pujari of the BJP by 14,280 votes, Ashok Pujari polled 75,969 votes (43.67%). Kareppa Talwar of the JD(S) got 1,533 votes (0.89%).
In 2013 polls Ramesh Jarkiholi won the constituency by a big margin of 28,005 votes by polling 79,175 votes (54.86%). Ashok Pujari then contesting on a JD(S) ticket lost by polling 51,170 votes (35.45%).
Umesh Nirwani of the KJP scored 4,366 votes (3.03%) and Vasudev Savatikai of the BJP got 4,293 votes (2.97%).
Karnataka: Yellapur (North Canara district)
Here again, Shivaram Hebbar formerly with the Congress and Shivanagouda Patil of the BJP had remained political rivals. Since Shivanagouda Patil has been placated by appointing him as chairman of the Hubballi based North West Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC) there is no dissent within the saffron party for the candidature of Shivaram Hebbar.
Shivaram Hebbar (INC) had defeated Shivanagouda Patil of the BJP by a thin margin of 1,483 votes during the 2018 election. He had polled 66,290 votes (47.26%) as against 64,807 votes (46.20%) polled by Shivanagouda Patil. Ravindra Naik of the JD(S) got 6,263 votes (4.46%).
However, Shivaram Hebbar had trounced Shivanagouda Patil by a massive margin of 24,492 votes during the 2013 polls. He polled 58,025 votes (48.06%) while Shivanagouda Patil remained far behind by getting 33,533 votes (27.77%). Anilkumar D of the JD(S) bagged 22,361 votes (18.52%).
Karnataka: Vijayanagar (Ballari district)
Anand Singh formerly with the BJP switched over to Congress and is now back again with the BJP. He had defeated HR Gaviyappa of the BJP by a margin of 8,228 votes during the 2018 polls.
Anand Singh polled 83,214 votes (50.09%) and HR Gaviyappa came nearby polling 74,986 votes (45.14%). Deepak Singh of the JD(S) got 3,835 votes (2.31%).
But Anand Singh as a BJP candidate had triumphed with an unassailable margin of 30,358 votes during the 2013 polls. Then he registered a vote base of 69,885 votes (56.12%) against Abdul Wahab of the INC. The Congress contender could get 39,358 votes (31.56%).BL Rani Samyuktha of the BSRCP floated by B Sriramulu got 6,406 votes (5.14%).
Hirekerur (Haveri district)
BC Patil, a three-time MLA formerly with the Janata Dal switched over to the Congress and is now a BJP candidate. UB Banakar had been his traditional rival all along but has been won over by BS Yediyurappa who declared BC Patil and UB Banakar as his two eyes in an electioneering meeting.
In the 2018 Karnataka election, BC Patil as INC candidate humbled UB Banakar, BJP candidate by a wafer-thin margin of 555 votes! He bagged 72,461 votes (48.10%) while UB Banakar had to remain contented with 71,906 votes (47.73%). Siddappa Gudadappanavar of the JD(S) got 3,597 votes (2.39%).
But it was the other way round during 2013 polls. UB Banakar wrestled the seat by defeating BC Patil with a low margin of 2,606 votes as a candidate of Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) floated by BS Yediyurappa.
UB Banakar of the KJP polled 52,623 votes (39.64%) while BC Patil came second with 50,017 votes (37.61%). BH Bannikod as an Independent candidate got 10,579 votes (7.95%). Now BH Bannikod is the INC candidate.
Ranebennur (Haveri district)
Ranebennur is one of the two constituencies wherein the former MLA has been denied the ruling BJP candidate. R Shankar who won the 2018 Assembly polls on a Karnataka Prajakeeya Janata Party (KPJP) floated by Upendra, film actor. The next day after the counting of votes got over, he visited the house of BS Yediyurappa in the morning and pledged support to form a BJP led government. By evening he appeared in the Congress office and declared his support to the Congress party and became a minister.
During 2018 polls R Shankar had polled 63,910 votes (35.64%) defeating KB Koliwad of the INC and Speaker in the outgoing Assembly by a margin of 4,338 votes. KB Koliwad lost by polling 59,572 votes (33.22%). Dr Basavaraj Kelagar of the BJP came third with 48,973 votes (27.31%).
In 2013 KB Koliwad had defeated R Shankar by a margin of 6,788 votes. He bagged 53,780 votes (33.79%) while the nearest contender R Shankar who had contested as an Independent candidate got 46,992 votes (29.52%). Shivanna G of KJP came third with 26,570 votes (16.69%).
Hoskote (Bengaluru Rural district)
Hoskote has remained a battleground for MTB Nagaraj, former Congress-minister-turned-BJP-candidate and BN Bachegowda, Chikkaballapur BJP Lok Sabha MP. The feud doesn’t seem to end as Sharat Bachegowda, son of BN Bachegowda has revolted against the party decision and is into the electoral fray as an Independent candidate.
As Vokkaligas dominate the constituency, who also proudly profess their first commitment to their own community the results are much in favour of the Independent candidate unless a miracle happens the previous day of polling.
MTB Nagaraj as INC candidate won from Hoskote during the 2018 Karnataka election by defeating Sharat Bachegowda with a margin of 7,597 votes. He bagged 98,824 votes (51.19%) while Sharat Bachegowda had to remain satisfied with 91,227 votes (47.25%). Krishnamurthy R of the JD(S) got 1,083 votes (0.56%)
Interestingly HD Kumaraswamy, the former chief minister has declared his support to Sharat Bachegowda. But if you were to take cognisance of the votes polled by JD(S) candidate during the 2018 and 2013 polls the JD(S) support makes no sense.
In 2013 polls the same MTB Nagaraj as INC candidate had defeated BN Bachegowda of the BJP by a margin of 7,139 votes. He had polled 85,238 votes (51.23%) while BN Bachegowda came second with 78,099 votes (46.94%). V Sridhar of the JD(S) got 1,304 votes (0.78%).
KR Puram in Greater Bengaluru Region
BA Basavaraja, formerly with the INC has won the constituency twice during the 2018 and 2013 elections. Nandiesha Reddy NS, his adversary from the BJP has been placated by appointing him chairman of the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC).
BA Basavaraja, during the 2018 Karnataka election, polled 1,35,404 votes (53.31%) defeating his nearest rival by a margin of 32,729 votes. Nandiesha Reddy NS of the BJP got 1,02,675 votes (40,42%). DA Gopal of JD(S) got 6,578 votes (2.59%).
In 2013 polls BA Basavaraj defeated Nandiesha Reddy NS by a margin of 24,001 votes. Then he had polled 1,06,299 votes (53.1%) as against Nandiesha Reddy NS’s 82,298 votes (41.11%). Raviprakash J of JD(S) got 3,955 votes (1.98%).
Shivajinagar in Bengaluru Urban district
R Roshan Baig, eight times MLA has been denied the BJP ticket to contest for being tainted in the multi-thousand crores IMA scam. However, he and his supporters have been reportedly working for the BJP candidate.
Rizwan Arshad is the Congress candidate here who has lost two elections in a row and is dubbed to lose this one as well.
Mahalakshmi Layout in Bengaluru Urban district
K Gopalaiah, former JD(S) MLA is the BJP candidate. NL Narendra Babu and S Harish, both contenders for the BJP ticket have been placated thus making it smooth sailing for the turncoat.
Yeshvanthapura in Bengaluru Urban district
ST Somashekhar, two times INC MLA is currently BJP candidate. Jaggesh, film actor turned politician had contested as a BJP candidate during the 2018 election in the last minute. Though he came third in the race polled 59,308 votes (20.65%) against HI Krishnappa, BJP candidate during 2013 polls who had secured 12,747 votes (5.51%).
As Jaggesh has been placated with no other contenders for the BJP ticket the going to ST Somashekhar looks to be smooth.
Chikkaballapur in Chikkaballapur district
Dr K Sudhakar, two times INC MLA is the BJP candidate. He had defeated KP Bachegowda of the JD(S) by a margin of 45,177 votes during the 2018 election. He polled 82,006 votes (51.76%) as against 36,829 votes (23.25%) of KP Bachegowda.
His victory margin against KP Bachegowda during 2013 election was 15,048 votes. He had polled 74,914 votes (51.06%) while his JD(S) rival KP Bachegowda got 59,866 votes (40.81%).
KR Pete in Mandya district
Narayanagowda had won from here as a JD(S) candidate during the 2018 and 2013 elections. He has defeated KB Chandrashekar of the INC by a margin of 17,119 votes during the 2018 polls. He bagged 88,016 votes (50.58%) while KB Chandrashekar got 70,897 votes (40.74%)
Likewise, during 2013 polls, he won by a margin of 9,243 votes defeating KB Chandrashekar of the INC. He polled 47,541 votes (30.97%) while KB Chandrashekar got 37,764 votes (24.6%)
There is no intraparty rivalry for his candidature but there has been a lot of resentment among JD(S) workers for his role in toppling the Vokkaliga CM’s coalition government. His chances of making it to the victory table are said to be bleak.
Hunsur in Mysuru district
AH Vishwanath, former Congressman turned Karnataka JD(S) president is the BJP candidate here. Last time he won by a margin of 8,575 votes against HP Manjunath of INC. He polled 91,667 votes (34.07%) while HP Manjunath got 83,092 votes (30.88%).
GT Devegowda, former JD(S) minister who trounced Siddaramaiah in Chamundeshwari constituency of Mysuru district has been repeatedly hinting about the possible win of INC candidate here.
Though the BJP leaders made all efforts to rope him to campaign for the party candidate it needs to be seen whether those attempts will bear fruits to the party.