Kage, Patil slug it out in two-way contest at Kagwad

Shrimant Patil

The Kagwad bypoll is largely centered around two candidates who have switched political sides, making it a curious contest. 

In the May 2018 assembly polls, Congress' Shrimant Patil defeated Bharamgouda (Raju) Kage of the BJP. Under changed political circumstances, Kage is contesting from the Congress whereas Patil, who was disqualified as a legislator, has got the BJP ticket.  

The JD(S) has fielded former Zilla Panchayat member Shrishail Tugashetti, whose wife Puttarajamma is with the Congress as a member of the Zilla Panchayat. 

At the outset, the contest appears to be three-way, but the fight is intense between the Congress and the BJP. 

For Kage, this will be the second bypoll in his political career. As a constituency, Kagwad has seen 12 elections and one earlier bypoll since 1967. In 1999, Kage contested as an Independent, but lost against Congress' Pasagouda Patil. In 2000, Patil’s death resulted in a bypoll in which Kage contested as the JD(U) candidate and won. Kage went on to win three consecutive elections from the BJP. For someone who became a legislator through a bypoll, Kage's fate will be decided again in the December 5 bypoll. 

As far as Shrimant Patil is concerned, he jumped to the JD(S) in 2008 when the Congress denied him the ticket. In 2013, as the JD(S) candidate, Patil lost against Kage. In 2018, Patil got the Congress ticket and defeated Kage. In July this year, however, Patil was disqualified, resulting in this bypoll. 

So far, Kagwad has seen the Congress win six times and it is widely believed that voters prefer 'individuals' over party affiliation. 

As a result of Kage and Patil switching sides, there has been a transition at the grassroots level as well. Prominent local leaders, including Krishna Sugar Factory vice-president Jyotagouda Patil and director Goolappa Jatti are with Kage. Similarly, Patil has found support from some local Congress leaders. 

The debate around disqualification, self-pride and allegations-counter allegations have clouded developmental issues that have found no takers among the contesting candidates. For instance, there is no talk on pending dues that sugarcane farmers are waiting for (and Kagwad happens to be a region where sugarcane is grown). 

Also, there is palpable anger in the electorate against elected representatives for their 'indifference' towards victims of the August 2019 floods. 

In all this, efforts are being made to woo the Veerashaiva-Lingayat community that forms a sizeable chunk of voters here. 


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