Bypolls a prestige battle ahead of 2023 Assembly elections in Karnataka

The bypolls to the two Assembly seats announced on Tuesday — Sindagi and Hangal — have turned out to be a prestige battle for all three major political parties in Karnataka, particularly the ruling BJP, as they are seen as a pointer to the 2023 Assembly elections.

Polling will be held on October 30, according to the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) announcement, while the counting of votes will be on November 2.

Though local factors would play a big role in the northern region where the bypolls are being held, the polls have attracted attention because they will be held even as the political parties are preparing the ground for the Assembly elections. All three of the BJP, Congress, and JD(S) believe that victory in these bypolls will be a morale booster for 2023.

The bypolls have been necessitated by the death of MLAs C.M. Udasi and M.C. Manguli, both of whom were octogenarians. While Mr. Udasi was a veteran BJP leader, Mr. Manguli was with the JD(S).

Test for Bommai

For Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who is set to lead the BJP’s campaign in the 2023 Assembly elections, these bypolls will be the first ever poll test. He is keen to win both seats and send a message that the people of the State have accepted his leadership.

Soon after the announcement of the bypolls, Mr. Bommai said BJP State president Nalin Kumar Kateel would send observers to the two constituencies to assess the situation on potential candidates. The BJP State core committee has already discussed who should be deployed as observers, he added. Saying that the party had a strong network powered by committed party workers, he expressed confidence that the BJP would be able to win both seats.

Meanwhile, though veteran BJP leader B.S. Yediyurappa had earlier stated that his son B.Y. Vijayendra would not contest in these bypolls, political circles are still curious to know if he will get an opportunity to test the political waters.

Candidate finalised

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president D.K. Shivakumar pointed out that the party high command had already finalised the candidate for one of the constituencies. He said the party’s State unit would soon recommend a candidate for the other constituency to the high command for its approval. Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah expressed confidence that the Congress would win both seats.

Responding to the announcement of the bypoll dates, JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy said his party, which held Sindagi constituency, would field candidates for both seats. “We have already announced that our party leader Nayaz will contest for the Hanagal seat. We will soon announce the candidate for the Sindagi seat,” he said.

He said there were five aspirants for the Sindagi seat, and one of them would be chosen in consultation with the party leaders.

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 5:00:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/bypolls-a-prestige-battle-ahead-of-2023-assembly-elections-in-karnataka/article36725921.ece

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