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Karnataka: High stakes for BJP, Congress in by-polls

High stakes for BJP, Congress in by-polls
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High stakes for BJP, Congress in by-polls

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Bengaluru: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress have high stakes in Karnataka's by-elections in one Lok Sabha and two As...

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Bengaluru: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress have high stakes in Karnataka's by-elections in one Lok Sabha and two Assembly seats on Saturday amid the Covid-19 scare in the State.

"Arrangements have been made to conduct peaceful voting from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Belgaum Lok Sabha constituency, Basavakalyan and Maski Assembly seats in Bidar and Raichur districts in the state's northern region, as per the Covid-induced guidelines," a poll official told IANS here on Friday.

The counting will take place on May 2. In all, 30 candidates, including 10 in Belgaum, 12 in Basavakalyan and eight in Maski (reserved) are in the fray. Of them, 26 are men and four women.

There are five Independents each in Belgaum and Maski and four in Basavakalyan.

Of the 22,59,778 voters in the three seats, 18,13,567 are in Belgaum, 2,39,782 in Basavakalyan and 2,06,429 in Maski.

The by-elections are being held to fill vacancies caused by the death of Union Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi and BJP member in Belgaum and death of Congress legislator B. Narayan Rao in Basavakalyan and due to the disqualification of Prapgouda Patil in Maski (Scheduled Tribe).

Angadi, a 4-time Lok Sabha member from the state's northwest region, died of Covid on September 23, 2020 in New Delhi, while Rao also died of Covid on September 24, 2020 in Bengaluru.

The BJP fielded Mangala, widow of Angadi to retain Belgaum, while Congress fielded Mallamma, widow of Rao to retain Basavakalyan.

Congress fielded its state unit working president Satish Jarkiholi against Mangala in Belgaum.

Satish (58), is a Congress legislator from the Yemakanmardi assembly seat in the border district (Belgaum) of the state.

Satish is also the younger brother of BJP's tainted former state minister Ramesh Jarkiholi, who is embroiled in the sleaze CD that has rocked the state recently.

Patil, who defected to BJP from Congress in November 2019, is re-contesting to retain Maski on the lotus symbol.

Though the opposition Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) is not contesting in Belgaum and Maski, it has fielded Syed Yasrab Ali Quadri in Basavakalyan, while BJP fielded Saharanu Salaga to wrest the seat from the Congress.

The BJP and the Congress are pitted against each other in Belgaum and Maski, while they face JD-S in a triangular contest in Basavakalyan.

Besides the three mainstream parties, Shiv Sena, All India Majilis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), Akhil Bharatiya Muslim League (Secular), Hindustan Janata Party and Karnataka Rashtra Samithi (KRS) are contesting in Basavakalyan, which is on the Karnataka-Maharashtra border area.

Congress fielded Basavanagoud Turvihal in Maski. He lost to Patil in the May 2018 assembly elections as a BJP candidate and joined the opposition party recently to contest on the Hand symbol.

In the May 2019 General Elections, BJP won 25 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats from the southern state, Congress (2) and Independent (1).

In the 225-member state Assembly, BJP has 118, Congress (67), JD-S (32), Independents (2), BSP (1), speaker (1), nominated (1) and vacant (3).

In the 15 Assembly by-elections held on December 5, 2019, BJP won 12, Congress (2) and an independent (1).

In the twin by-polls held in Bengaluru's RR Nagar and Sira in Tumakur district on November 3, 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic, BJP wrested both the seats from the Congress and the JD-S respectively.

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