Karnataka’s ruling alliance bets on retaining seats in by-polls

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Bengaluru, Nov 5 (IANS) The ruling Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and Congress alliance is upbeat on retaining their hold in the Saturday’s five by-elections ahead of vote count on Tuesday, an official said on Monday.

“Higher voter turnout in the two assembly segments of Jamkhandi and Ramangara and moderate in the three parliamentary seats of Bellary (ST), Mandya and Shimoga indicate that joint candidates of our parties have a clear edge,” a JD-S official told IANS here.

The JD-S contested from the Ramangara assembly seat and Mandya and Shimoga Lok Sabha seats, while the Congress did from Jamkhandi and Bellary (reserved).

Though the opposition BJP fielded candidates in all the 5 by-polls, its nominee L Chandrasekhar from Ramanagara resigned from the party and re-joined the Congress on November 1, making his contest futile, as even his polling agents deserted him.

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An unfazed BJP, however, claimed that it would not only retain the Bellary and Shimoga parliamentary seats, but also wrest Jamkhandi from the Congress.

“The heavy turnout (77.17 per cent) in Jamkhandi clearly signals our candidate Srikant Kulkarni will snatch the seat from the Congress,” a BJP official told IANS000

The Congress, on the other hand, dared to retain Jamkhandi where it fielded AAnand Siddu, son of its senior leader Siddu Nyamagouda, whose sudden death in a road mishap on May 28 necessitated the by-poll.

With Chandrashekhar out of contest, it will be a cakewalk for JD-S candidate Anitha, wife of Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, with a huge majority from Ramangara despite 5 Independents in fray where polling was 71.88 per cent.

In the three Lok Sabha seats, Bellary polled 63.85 per cent, Shimoga 61.05 per cent and Mandya 53.93 per cent.

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Sons of three former state chief ministers are locked in a triangular contest from Shimoga in Malnad region.

They are B.Y. Raghavendra, son of BJP’s state unit president B.S. Yeddyurappa, who was the party’s first chief minister in the south from 2008-11, Madhu Bangarappa, younger son of late Congress chief minister S. Bangarappa (1990-92) and Mahima Patel, son of late Janata Dal-United (JD-S) chief minister J.H. Patel (1996-99).

L.R. Shivarame Gowda of the JD-S and Siddaramaiah of the BJP are the candidates in Mandya.

In Bellary, the Congress fielded its state legislative council member V.S. Ugrappa against BJP’s Shantha as both belonging to the dominant Valmiki tribal community.

The Lok Sabha by-elections were held to fill vacancies caused by the resignation of its three sitting members -BJP’s Yeddyurappa from Shimoga and Sriramaulu from Bellary and C. Puttaraju of the JD-S from Mandya on being elected to the assembly in the May 12 elections.

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The Ramanagara by-poll was held to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Kumaraswamy, who retained the adjacent Channapatna assembly segment after contesting and winning from both the seats in the May 12 state elections./Eom/470 words.

–IANS

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