Though August 7 is the last date for withdrawal of nomination papers, the battle lines have been clearly drawn for the bypolls in Bangalore Rural and Mandya Lok Sabha constituencies with the potential candidates of the ruling Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) entering the fray.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded Bangalore city ward MLA M. Krishnappa, Yuva Morcha president Tulasi Muniraju and party leader Nagaraj and K.S. Doreswamy for Bangalore Rural and Mandya constituencies respectively, as its leaders are still optimistic about a proposed alliance with the Janata Dal(S) with a view to humbling the Congress in the bypolls to both the Lok Sabha and Legislative Council constituencies.

A senior party leader said, “Though the presence of BJP candidates would make no difference to the main contenders, the party would fight to garner whatever it can, if the Janata Dal(S) rejects an alliance.”

The bypolls to Bangalore Rural constituency is likely to be a high-decibel contest akin to the one witnessed during the byelection to the Chamundeswari Assembly segment in 2006, when Siddaramaiah fought the BJP-Janata Dal(S) and wrested the seat by a thin margin.

It is a prestigious battle of ballots for both the Janata Dal(S) and the Congress, with the former stretching every sinew to wrest the two seats that its candidates had won previously.

The battle for Bangalore Rural is being described as a proxy fight between Janata Dal(S) State unit president H.D. Kumaraswamy and his political arch-rival and senior Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar. This constituency is likely to see a bitter battle, as the Janata Dal(S) has taken a calculated risk by fielding Anita Kumaraswamy, Mr. Kumaraswamy’s wife.

Similarly, the Congress has fielded D.K. Suresh, Mr. Shivakumar’s brother. Mr. Shivakumar, who was reportedly against fielding his brother initially, finally accepted the Congress high command’s request. He, however, has a challenge to prove that he is still a force to reckon with in the area.

Of the eight Assembly segments that come under this constituency, the Janata Dal(S) has a hold on three, the Congress represents three and the BJP and and the Samajwadi Party have one each.

Meeting

Meanwhile, a core election committee meeting on Sunday, attended by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Mr. Shivakumar and some Cabinet ministers, chalked out plans to wrest the seat for the Congress. Sources said that the responsibility of garnering support in eight Assembly segments was given to Ministers, while the MLAs have been given in-charge of the panchayats.

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