How Karnataka Bypoll Battle is Poised: A Seat-Wise Analysis
Bypoll results will be known only on 9 December, but here is a breakdown of each party’s chances, constituency-wise
On 5 December, 15 constituencies across Karnataka will go to polls to re-elect their MLAs.
Having been disqualified by former speaker Ramesh Kumar for staying away from the trust vote, 13 rebel MLAs will be contesting these bypolls on BJP tickets to reclaim their posts.
While the BJP needs 7 seats to retain power in the state Assembly, the political tide could turn against them. The Congress and JD(S) have been using the mass defections and subsequent disqualifications as their poll plank.
The people’s mandate will be known only on 9 December, but here is a breakdown of the chances of each party, constituency-wise.
There are high chances of first-time MLA Mahesh Kumathalli winning from Athani despite his disappearing act during the recent flood crisis, which the Congress is banking on.
Disqualified MLA Shrimant Patil and his opponent from Congress, BA Kage, have swapped parties in the last 18 months. Formerly with BJP, Kage had lost the 2018 Assembly polls by over 30,000 votes. This flip-flop is said to have confused grassroots level workers over whom to support in the polls.
The Congress had earlier planned a campaign around the flood crisis that ravaged Belagavi district this year, but dropped the plan once the BJP fielded Ramesh Jarkiholi, a disqualified MLA, from here.
His chances of getting the post of deputy CM will help him garner support, with CM Yediyurappa having acknowledged his role in toppling the previous government.
A two-time MLA from the region, Shivaram Hebbar, who switched from the Congress to BJP, still enjoys support in the region. However, he has come under fire for remaining absent during the flood crisis.
Disqualified MLA BC Patil’s former rival from the BJP, UB Banakar had lost the 2018 Assembly poll by only 555 votes. He has been pacified by the high command to support Patil, ensuring that there is no division of votes.
The BJP was spoilt for choice in this constituency, with four probable candidates in the race to secure the BJP ticket. The ticket was finally given to Arunkumar, after snubbing independent candidate R Shankar and BJP leader Eshwarappa’s son Kantesh.
Anand Singh is the most popular candidate in the fray here as he has been winning the seat since 2004, when he contested for the first time. Gaviyappa, his long-term opponent, shifted from Congress to BJP in 2018, when Singh switched from BJP to Congress.
There are strong chances of disqualified MLA Sudhakar retaining the seat. He is a popular legislator with no strong competitors up against him.
Disqualified MLA Byrathi Basavaraj has a strong chance of winning this seat. His BJP opponent from 2018 would have been a strong competitor, but he has been awarded a plum post under the current government.
The battle for this seat could go either way as the 2018 rivals, disqualified MLA ST Somashekar and TN Javarayi Gowda, are going head to head again. Gowda is perceived to be having an upper hand in the Vokkaliga bastion.
Disqualified MLA K Gopalaiah and his wife are extremely popular in the constituency, with his wife having served one term as Bengaluru deputy mayor. Gopalaiah won the seat on a JD(S) ticket in 2013 and 2018.
This Muslim-dominated constituency will see a fight between 3 Muslim candidates and one candidate from the SC community put up by the BJP. Former MLA Roshan Baig was not given a ticket from the BJP but still exerts influence over voters.
This constituency is expected to see a triangular fight between the BJP, Congress and independent candidate Sharath Bachegowda, who has a lot of support in the constituency, with many youths offering their support for his brand of politics. Hoskote is dominated by the Kurubas, Vokkaligas and Muslims. While both the Congress and BJP candidates belong to the Kuruba community, Bachegowda is a Vokkaliga.
Disqualified MLA Narayan Gowda doesn’t enjoy the confidence of the voters, who are angry over his defection. This might end up favouring JD(S) candidate BL Devaraj.
This was the only constituency where the Congress managed to inch ahead in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, despite it being a traditional vote bank of the JD(S). Veteran JD(S) leader GT Deve Gowda was upset that his son, Harish, did not get the party ticket, so this might work against the JD(S).
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