Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa who is also the party’s star campaigner in the state, will address two rallies in Sira of Tumkur district on Friday. BJP is trying its best to wrest a seat in which, not only has it never won, but also never even been a runner-up. The seat has always elected a representative from either Congress or the regional Janata Dal (Secular).
Two seats – Sira and RR Nagar – are facing bypolls and will vote on November 3. While the Sira bypoll was necessitated after the sitting JD(S) legislator B Satyanarayana succumbed to Covid-19, the RR Nagar by-poll was caused after the Congress MLA resigned and joined the ruling party. The outcome of the two by-polls will have no impact on the government’s survival as BJP enjoys a comfortable majority of 117 MLAs in a 225-member assembly apart from the support of 3 independents.
However all the three main parties — BJP, Congress and JD(S) – have taken the by-polls as a prestige issue. For Congress, these are the first polls they are facing under the newly appointed KPCC chief DK Shivakumar and victory in both or either of the seats, the party believes, will vindicate their charge of the government’s mishandling of the Covid-19 crisis and flood aftermath.
For the regional JD(S), it is a question of defending turf after losing the coalition government and falling out with its erstwhile partner Congress. JD(S) wants to prove it is still relevant and an important third pole in state politics.
The ruling BJP has never won either of the seats and will see any addition as a positive outcome. Specially Sira, where Yediyurappa’s son and state BJP vice president Vijayendra is leading the charge. A victory in Sira is likely to boost Vijayendra’s credentials as somebody who has come out of his father’s long shadow and establish him as a powerful political player in his own right.
Even as two former CM’s — Siddaramaiah from Congress and HD Kumaraswamy from JD(S) mounted an aggressive campaign on Thursday in Sira, Vijayendra sounded confident that the party would for the first time win the seat. “In both RR Nagar and Sira, BJP will emerge victorious,” the Karnataka BJP vice president added. Yediyurappa is likely to address a poll rally in RR Nagar also, before the curtains come down on campaigning 48 hours before polls.