Greenhorn, seasoned politcian in straight fight

Kusuma Shivalli

With the by-election being held for Kundgol Assembly constituency on May 19, it will be the maiden election for late minister C S Shivalli’s wife Kusumavati of the Congress, while her opponent S I Chikkangoudar, who is a BJP leader, is a seasoned politician who had entered the Legislative Assembly thrice.

The BJP leaders assuring the party ticket for M R Patil in the next election, have asked Chikkangoudar to make all-out efforts, to show his strength by winning this seat, which would be his last try. Compared to previous elections, the path seems more difficult for Chikkangoudar this time.

When the BJP split in 2013, with B S Yeddyurappa forming the Karnataka Janata Party (KJP), Patil was the BJP candidate, while Chikkangoudar faced the polls on the KJP ticket. M R Patil was an aspirant for the BJP ticket in 2018 Assembly elections too.

Chikkangoudar, a relative of B S Yeddyurappa, became MLA from Kalghatagi in 1999 and 2004 elections. After delimitation of constituencies, he shifted to the Kundgol constituency, and emerged victorious in 2008.

However, he tasted defeat as the KJP candidate in 2013, and as BJP candidate in 2018. He stood second in both these elections, which was won by late C S Shivalli of the Congress. In 2018, Shivalli’s winning margin against him was just over 600 votes.

Both seek sympathy

In the by-election for the Kundgol seat which fell vacant due to the demise of C S Shivalli, the Congress has fielded his wife Kusumavati. Retaining Kundgol seat has become not just a prestige issue for Congress, but also a step to further strengthen the stability of the coalition government. Sympathy is a major factor riding here.

However, Chikkangoudar is also banking on the sympathy wave. In the 2018 Assembly elections, Chikkangoudar had lost to C S Shivalli by just 634 votes. While late Shivalli had got 64,871 votes, Chikkangoudar had got 64,237 votes.

Nevertheless, both the candidates are now banking on the sympathy wave in their respective favour. BJP and Congress are expected to put all their strength to win this seat.

Shivalli’s record

In this constituency, C S Shivalli has the record of wining thrice, including two consecutive terms, first time as an Independent in 1999, and as the Congress candidate in 2013 and 2018. C S Shivalli was runner-up here as KCP candidate in 1994, and stood second in 2004.

He was also in the second position in 2008 elections as the Congress candidate.

Back in 1967, S R Bommai had won here as an independent, and he was defeated as NCO candidate in 1972. Later, he became an MLC, and shifted to erstwhile Hubballi Rural constituency to become an MLA, and even became the chief minister.

Unique constituency

In the 11 elections held upto 2004, independent candidates were in the top three position in eight elections. In that duration, Bommai and Shivalli registered victory as independent candidates. This shows that the influence of candidates was more strong than that of political parties on several occasions.

The situation changed from 2008 elections. Since then, it is Congress-BJP straight fight here, except in 2013, when KJP was in the second place.

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