As stage is set for bypolls, CM says Cong will win both seats

 Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has exuded confidence that the Congress will win both the Assembly seats – Nanjangud and Gundlupet – for which byelections will be held on April 9.

Siddaramaiah told reporters in Bengaluru on Thursday, “We are 100% confident of winning both the seats in the byelections.”

Referring to BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa’s statement that his party had already won the seats, Siddaramaiah said, “Voters are not in Yeddyurappa’s pockets. There are nearly two lakh voters in Nanjangud. The results will prove the BJP wrong.” Replying to a question, he said the outcome of the byelections cannot be a pointer to the next Assembly polls. The elections have been necessitated as sitting members V Srinivas Prasad joined the BJP and H S Mahadev Prasad died. The elections are taking place by accident. “How is it possible to consider the byelection results as a pointer to the next elections?” he wondered.

KPCC president G Parameshwara in a statement said the party is geared to face the byelections. “We have already fixed responsibilities to leaders in both the constituencies. I am now in London on official work. Once I come back, I will take everyone in the party into confidence and engage in poll campaigning,” he added.

The Congress has decided to field Geetha, wife of late minister Mahadev Prasad from Gundlupet and Kalale Keshavamurthy from Nanjangud, the constituency is reserved for scheduled castes. The BJP may field C S Niranjankumar for the Gundlupet seat, while Srinivas Prasad would contest from Nanjangud. JD(S) state president H D Kumaraswamy, in a statement, said his party would contest the polls as desired by his party workers.

Yeddyurappa has appointed former minister V Somanna as party election incharge in Gundlupet constituency. BJP sources said Yeddyurappa is focussing more on the Nanjangud constituency, compared to Gundlupet, for various reasons. Chief Electoral Officer of Karnataka Anil Kumar Jha said while the model code of conduct for the polls has come into effect, it will have no bearing on the presentation of the state budget proposals on March 15. However, the government should refrain from making any announcement or packages specific to the two constituencies.

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