Byelection a litmus forparties ahead of 2019

The Lok Sabha bypolls to the Ballari, Shivamogga and Mandya seats will be a precursor to the big 2019 polls that will test the Congress-JD(S) coalition and the BJP under its state president B S Yeddyurappa’s leadership.

The Lok Sabha bypolls are scheduled to be held on November 3, the Election Commission of India has announced. The bypolls are necessitated due to the seats being vacated after the incumbent MPs were elected to the Legislative Assembly - BJP’s B Sreeramulu (Ballari and B S Yeddyurappa (Shivamogga), C S Puttaraju (Mandya) of the JD(S). The Congress, however, appears to be wary due to the challenge the bypoll has posed.

While the Vokkaliga-dominated Mandya is the bastion of JD(S) and Shivamogga is BJP’s stronghold, the Congress faces a tough challenge in Ballari where it will take on the BJP helmed by the Nayaka community leader B Sreeramulu, who is backed by the powerful Reddy brothers. 

“These bypolls were unnecessary. The 2019 Lok Sabha polls are about four months away and there’s little time for us to prepare,” KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao told reporters.

The party will hold talks internally and with the JD(S) to finalise things, he added. In Shivamogga, the saffron party is likely to field B Y Raghavendra, son of Yeddyurappa. The Congress is keen on fielding former minister Kimmane Rathnakar or Manjunath Bhandari.

The Ballari seat is a tricky one for the Congress as the party’s unit in the Ballari district is faction-ridden.

The party is considering giving the ticket to B Ramprasad, who had contested the 2008 Assembly polls unsuccessfully, or to Ballari legislator B Nagendra.

The BJP may consider former MPs Joladararshi Shanta or Sanna Fakirappa, but sources said the decision was for Sreeramulu to make Shanta is his sister and Fakirappa his uncle.

The BJP has virtually no presence in Mandya, where the JD(S) is looking at fielding former IRS officer Lakshmi Ashwin Gowda. 

Ramanagar, Jamkhandi

Bypolls to two Assembly seats - Ramanagar and Jamkhandi - will also be held on November 3. The bypolls were necessitated due to Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy vacating the Ramanagara seat (he was elected from Channapatna also) and the demise of Jamkhandi MLA Siddu Nyamagouda.

It is almost final that the Congress will field Anand Nyamagouda (Siddu Nyamagouda’s son) in Jamkhandi whereas the JD(S) is planning to field Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s wife Anitha in Ramanagar.

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Byelection a litmus forparties ahead of 2019

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