Staff Correspondent

‘The two parties will contest the election as one entity to defeat the BJP’

‘Congress enjoys support of over 60 per cent of voters’

Shashikant Naik, Malgi among five who filed papers

Belgaum: Senior leaders of the Congress, including its official candidate for the byelection to the Legislative Council from the Belgaum Local Authorities’ Constituency S.C. Malgi and the former MP Amarsinh Patil, have claimed that the party has decided on a pre-poll alliance with the Janata Dal (Secular), even as Uttam Pandit Patil filed his nomination papers, along with the ‘B’ form, as the JD(S) candidate on Tuesday.

Tuesday was the last day for filing nomination papers for the byelection, polling for which will be held on October 31.

Ashok Pujari and Anand Shivalingappa Gotadki of the JD(S) and Shashikant A. Naik of the BJP also filed their nomination papers on Tuesday.

Talking to presspersons on Tuesday after filing nomination papers, Mr. Malgi, along with Mr. Amarsinh Patil, said that decision between the Congress and the JD(S) on the pre-poll alliance was final. The two parties would contest the byelection as one entity to defeat the BJP, they said.

Interestingly, Mr. Malgi said that he had not sought a ticket to contest the byelection. He decided to contest the election on the advice of the senior leaders of the party.

Mr. Malgi is known to have a good relationship with Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president R.V. Deshpande.

Mr. Malgi claimed that the Congress enjoyed the support of over 60 per cent of the total 8,733 voters in the constituency, who include elected members of gram panchayats, taluk panchayats and town panchayats, zilla panchayat, city municipalities, Belgaum City Corporation and the Belgaum City Cantonment Board.

The JD(S) enjoyed the support of nearly 15 per cent of the total voters, he said.