Three polls in Karnataka: BJP rebellion, Congress makes offer for a comeback

The outcome of these farewell polls will be an indicator of the leadership credentials of Yediyurappa, DK Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah.

In this Karnataka by-election season, some are trying to cash in sympathy votes, while others are hoping that the rebellion in their opponent’s house will help them win. The three legislative elections for the seat of Belagavi Lok Sabha, the Assembly constituencies of Basavakalyan (Bidar district) and Maski (Raichur district), to be held on April 17, are crucial for the BJP, Congress and the JD (S). The elections are also a test of credibility for Yediyurappa, DK Shivakumar and the leadership of Siddaramaiah.

The polls in Belagavi and Basavakalyan were made necessary due to the deaths of sitting lawmakers due to COVID-19. Maski’s seat has been vacant since 2019, when then-MP Pratapgouda Patil left Congress for the BJP along with several of his colleagues and was disqualified by the President – an order upheld by the Supreme Court. However, while the court also allowed disqualified MPs to participate in the exemption polls, Maski has not gone to the polls so far because the election of Pratapgouda in 2018 was contested by runner-up Basannagouda R Turvihal .

The outstanding cases were settled in October 2020 and it was finally announced that the Maski by-elections would be held concurrently with the West Bengal Assembly elections in April 2021.

Interestingly, while Pratapgouda who won in 2018 on a Congress ticket is now at BJP, Turvihal, who lost in 2018 with BJP is now in Congress. And the two leaders will fight once again for the seat.

BJP after its winning streak since 2019, is now on a sticky wicket. He faces rebellion in Belagavi and Basavakalyan over the choice of his candidates. In Maski, Congress reworked its strategy and united front, notably with former CM Siddaramaiah and strategy prodigy DK Shivakumar campaigning together for their candidate.


Belagavi’s parliament seat has sparked interest this time around, as it is the hotbed of sex-for-work and sexual harassment accused former minister Ramesh Jarkiholi. Ramesh Jarkiholi was one of the Congressional defectors to the BJP, which led to the fall of the Congressional-JD (S) government in 2019. And this time, Congress is lining up his brother, Satish Jarkiholi, from the seat of Belagavi.

Belagavi is a neighborhood of “Sahukars” (chiefs) where families dictate local politics. Owners of sugar factories and at the head of cooperative societies, the families of Jarkiholi, Katti, Koujalgi and Kore are at the helm of politics since running a sugar factory means having a strong voice bank of 20,000 to 25,000, while that cooperative societies look after the financial needs of voters in terms of loans.

A stronghold of the BJP, he was represented by former Union Minister Suresh C Angadi since 2004, who died of COVID-19 last year. According to BJP sources, there were nearly 60 candidates for the seat, 10 to 12 being serious candidates, including Minister Jagadish Shettar and the MLC Mahantesh Kavatagimath party. Most are young and have spearheaded party activities for years. But the decision of the central leadership of the BJP to present Angadi’s wife Mangala, contrary to the party line which opposes the dynasty regime, would be a knee-jerk reaction to the seat allocation by Congress to Satish Jarkiholi.

“The BJP plans to garner sympathy votes for Mangala, it is doubtful that this will work,” a BJP source said. “The party has made Shettar responsible for the campaign, but Belagavi is not his political ground and he is not seen as an aggressive activist.” Shettar’s son is married to Angadi’s daughter, whose name also circled the note.

In Congress, regaining the seat is not a challenge for Satish Jarkiholi, whose brother is embroiled in the CD controversy, but it is a matter of prestige for DK Shivakumar and party deputy Laxmi Hebbalkar. The two have an ongoing feud with Ramesh Jarkiholi, who resented Shivakumar’s interference in Belagavi’s policies.

According to caste calculations, Lingayat and Maratha votes are important to victory, and the BJP has had an advantage all these years because both communities have supported the party. BJP sources said there would be a change as the Panchamasali Lingayats are unhappy that the ticket was not delivered to them, while the Marathas are angry with the government over the reservation quota and the controversy over the creation of the Maratha Development Corporation.

Maratha voters are prominent in Belagavi North, South and Rural constituencies and have supported the BJP in the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls. Maharashtra Ekikaran Sami, an umbrella organization of Maratha voters, is said to be pro-Congress with the tacit support of Shiv Sena from neighboring Maharashtra. The party is also confident of garnering the votes of minorities and listed castes (Lambanis) in the Saundatti Yellamma and Ramdurg segments of the Assembly.

Congressional sources said Satish Jarkiholi’s roster was an asset because in addition to being a good organizer, the Jarkiholi family of five brothers, despite their political affiliations, would be united when it comes to sharing power. . No one is working against each other because the goal is for at least one family member to be in power. But alongside Ramesh Jarkiholi, who is at BJP, Lakhan Jarkiholi, who is in Congress, also announced that he would support BJP candidate Mangala Angadi in the by-elections.

A victory or defeat for Satish Jarkiholi would benefit both Shivakumar and Hebbalkar. If Satish Jarkiholi wins, he leaves state politics, leaving the district free for Hebbalkar, while a defeat would reduce the influence of besieged Jarkiholis in Belagavi and the Congressional state unit, sources said. .


Rebellion and the polarization of votes are the hallmarks of this constituency, bordering Andhra Pradesh. The Lingayats supported the BJP while the Muslims, other backward classes and listed castes supported the Congress. Basavakalyan has been a stronghold of the Janata Parivar since 1983, but its winning streak was interrupted in 2018, when B Narayanrao of Congress claimed victory. The JD (S) sent top leader PGR Sindhia in 2018, who recently joined Congress.

Congress sent Mallamma, wife of the late MLA B Narayanarao, a housewife, to garner votes of sympathy. Representing the community of Kabbaligas or Koli, who are fishermen, the party hopes to take advantage of their anguish because none of their demands have been met.

While in Belagavi, the BJP workers are upset over the note going to Shettar’s family, here the grouse has finished giving it to a stranger. The candidate, Sharanu Salagar, a former high school teacher, is from Kalaburagi, and one of the reasons he got the ticket is that his wife, a tahsildar, did a good job during the pandemic in the constituency.

But the former BJP MP and current rebel Mallikarjun Khuba should give Salagar stiff competition. Both candidates are Lingayats, so the votes are likely to split between the two.

Meanwhile, there are allegations that the JD (S) and BJP are working together in Basavakalyan. Former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s decision to field a Muslim candidate in the constituency has raised suspicions in political circles that it is a ploy to help the BJP. “The strategy is more tied to an agreement between Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and Kumaraswamy than a JDS-BJP agreement,” said a political observer. Kumaraswamy’s tactic of lining up a Muslim – Sayed Yasrab Ali Quadri – is seen as a ploy to divide Muslim voices, which counts for the candidate’s victory.

Asaduddin Owaisi, who has tried to gain a foothold in states other than Telangana, has put forward an AIMIM candidate who is expected to garner a few votes. Congress delegated Party MP Zameer Ahmed Khan to mobilize minority voices and Sindhia to help garner support from the Maratha community.


The policy of defectors plays a role in this district reserved for the listed tribes. Congress gave the ticket to Basannagouda R Turvihal, who was the BJP candidate in the 2018 polls, while the BJP to Prathagouda Patil. The latter was one of 17 deputies who overthrew the JD (S) -Congress government in 2019. Turvihal lost to Patil by 213 votes in 2018 and challenged the result in court.

The BJP is hoping for a repeat of the verdict in last year’s exemption polls where disqualified MPs won. He has delegated BY party vice chairman Vijayendra to oversee the campaign – this will be his third venture after early victories in the KR Pet and Sira farewell polls.

Congressman Prakash K Rathod said his party’s selection of candidates was very good and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar are campaigning jointly this time around. “One of the new strategies of these approval polls was that the top party leaders were charged with every gram panchayat in the three constituencies and demanded not to come out of it. The Youth Congress campaign led by Raksha Ramaiah and Mohammed Haris Nalapad galvanized the party, ” he added.

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