Karnataka assembly by-polls Monday, prestige of 3 parties at stake

Over 350,000 people are eligible to vote in by-polls in Kadur in Chikmagalur district and Gulbarga South in Gulbarga district. There are 11 candidates for the 210,000 voters in Gulbarga South to choose from, though the fight is among nominees of the three parties. The remaining eight are Independents.

Kadur has only three candidates - one each from the BJP, Congress and JD-S, and an electorate of 177,000. Counting will take place on Sep 16.

The by-polls have been necessitated following the death of sitting members K.M. Krishnamurthy (Congress-Kadur) and Chandrashekar Patil Revoor (BJP-Gulbarga South).
Winning Gulbarga South is of great importance to the Congress, which has fielded Ajay Singh, son of former Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh.

Dharam Singh and union Labour Minister Mallikharjun Kharge are considered heavyweights of the district. The Congress had also roped in union Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khursheed  to campaign for Ajay Singh.

The Congress has been faring poorly in the several by-polls held after the 2008 assembly elections which brought the BJP to power for the first time in Karnataka and in south India.

A victory for the JD-S in Gulbarga South will give a boost to its morale as the party has little presence in north Karnataka. The party, hoping for sympathy votes, has nominated Revoor's widow Aruna Patil, who has accused the BJP of going back on its promise to nominate her or her son following her husband's death.

BJP nominee Sushil Namoshi is a senior party leader and a member of the legislative council. In Kadur, the Congress has fielded Krishnamurthy's brother K.M. Kemparaju, while the JD-S and the BJP have renominated the candidates who had lost in the 2008 assembly polls.

The JD-S candidate is party spokesperson and legislative council member Y.S.V. Datta and the BJP nominee is Y.C. Vishwanath, a medical practitioner in the area. The nearly two-week campaign was dominated by the illegal mining issue with the three parties blaming each other for encouraging it.

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