Victory for independent candidates rare in Dharwad district

No independent candidate registered a win in the district in the last decade.

Though a considerable number of independent candidates contest in Assembly elections from seven constituencies in Dharwad district, a victory for an independent candidate is not a common phenomenon here.

In fact, no independent candidate registered a win in the district in the last decade. Before that, some of those who became independent MLAs later scaled greater heights in their political career. Meanwhile, independent candidates posing tough fight and being in top three positions in the elections has also become very rare in recent decades, amidst a fight between major political parties.

In 2013 and 2008 elections, no independent candidate was in top three position in any constituency in the district, though the number of independent candidates was 40 and 28 respectively.

Ladder of success

The most recent victory for an independent candidate in the district was of Vinay Kulkarni from Dharwad Rural (now Dharwad) constituency in 2004. Later, he joined Congress, tasted defeat in 2008, won the polls in 2014, and became a minister.

In 1999, two independent candidates became MLAs in the district. C S Shivalli won from Kundgol, while Shivanand Ambadagatti became the MLA from Dharwad Rural constituency. As an independent candidate, Mr Shiavalli was in second position in Kundgol in 2004 elections. He could not win as the Congress candidate in 2008, but was elected as the MLA in 2013, and became chief minister’s parliamentary secretary.

This time, Mr Vinay Kulkarni and Mr Shivalli, who became MLAs for the first time as independent candidates, are seeking re-election as Congress candidates in Dharwad and Kundgol constituencies respectively.

After tasting defeat as Janata Party candidate in 1983, Chandrakanth Bellad became an independent MLA from erstwhile Dharwad (now Hubballi-Dharwad West) constituency in 1985. He later joined BJP and won the elections in 1994, 1999 and 2008.

S R Bommai also became MLA for the first time, as an independent from Kundgol constituency in 1967. Later, he shifted to Hubballi Rural constituency, won three elections continuously as Janata Party candidate, became the chief minister, and later became the Union minister also.

Initial decades

Basavaraj Desai who won the by-elections in Kalghatagi constituency in 1957 was the first independent MLA in the district. In 1967, independent candidate F S Patil emerged victorious from the same constituency. This seat also got another independent MLA, Father P Jacob, in 1983 elections.

In last six decades, the district has seen only eight independent MLAs, while some of them became prominent leaders. So far, no independent could become the MLA from Hubballi-Dharwad Central (erstwhile Hubballi Rural), Hubballi-Dharwad East (erstwhile Hubballi City), and Navalgund constituencies.

In 2013 elections, 11 independent candidates were in the fray in Hubballi-Dharwad Central constituency, and this number in the same constituency (Hubballi Rural then) was 24 in 1994 elections, while a total of 83 independent candidates were in the poll fray in the district then. The number of independent candidates to be in the poll fray this time is also expected to be considerable.

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