: The emergence of the Karnataka Janata Paksha has changed the political equations in Yadgir district and affected the prospects of the BJP.

The Congress, which did extremely well in the 2008 Assembly elections — winning three of the four Assembly constituencies and losing Surpur to the BJP — appears to be sailing smoothly to retain two of its seats and wresting one back from the BJP. The KJP appears to be ahead of its rivals in Yadgir constituency.

The victim of the KJP’s entry in the election appears to be the BJP, and the KJP candidates were successful in pushing the BJP candidates into oblivion. One-time MLA Veerbasantreddy, contesting against former Minister A.B. Maalakaraddy, appears to have an edge over his rival.

The popularity of four-time MLA Dr. Maalakaraddy seems to be on the wane. The presence of influential minority leader A.C. Kadloor, JD(S) candidate, and Kabbaliga leader Moulali Anpur (BSR Congress) may also prove costly for Dr. Maalakaraddy.

While Mr. Kadloor is likely to win Muslim votes, considered to be the Congress’ vote bank, Mr. Anpur would also eat into the Kabbaliga, traditional Congress supporters, votes.

However, the Congress leaders were confident that Dr. Maalakaraddy would emerge victorious, based on his performance and clean image.

The Congress, which appeared to be on the back foot in the initial stages of the campaign in the Gurmitkal Assembly constituency due to the opposition from the party leaders to MLA Baburao Chinchansur, has bounced back into reckoning thanks to the intervention of Union Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge, who represented the constituency for a record eight terms continuously, to persuade the disgruntled party leaders to work for Mr. Chinchansur’s victory.

Mr. Kharge’s message that this was a crucial election for the party and winning every seat was important to come to power in the State, appears to have turned the fortunes in favour of Mr. Chinchansur.

In the Shahpur Assembly constituency, the Congress appears to be making steady headway towards victory with party candidate and three-time MLA Sharanabasappa Darshanapur having a clear edge over his rivals.

In Surpur, the former Minister Narasimha Naik, who resigned from the BJP on the eve of the elections, is fighting the elections on the JD(S) ticket after the Congress spurned his moves to join the party and contest on the party ticket.

Mr. Narasimha Naik is involved in a close fight with Raja Venkatappa Naik of the Congress, who appears to have a slight edge over Mr. Narasimha Nayak.

In the just concluded urban local body elections also the Congress had the upper hand in the district, winning 50 of the 98 seats.

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