Bypoll campaign heats up, BSY calls for ‘Congress Mukt Karnataka’
With just 10 days to go before voting for crucial bypolls to 15 assembly constituencies in Karnataka, leaders of all the three major political parties in the state exchanged barbs on the poll trail on Monday with CM BS Yediyurappa calling for a ‘Congress Mukt Karnataka.’
The bypolls are crucial for the survival of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state, as it has the support of only 105 MLAs plus one independent in a house of 224. It needs to win at least 6 of the 15 constituencies to get a simple majority as two more seats are vacant due to legal wrangles.
Yediyurappa campaigning for his party candidate Anand Singh in Vijayanagar constituency of Bellary district, claimed that his party would win all the 15 seats and the only question was ‘their margin of victory.’ Asserting that they would not need the support of any other party to survive in power after the bypoll results, the CM asked his opponents ‘not to day dream’ about coming back to power.
Meanwhile, minister V Somanna appealed to voters to support BJP candidates, across the state. “Entire country is watching. Those who enabled us to form this ministry will be rewarded. All those who win will be made ministers,” he asserted.
Congress Legislature Party leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah, who was campaigning for his party candidate at Yellapur, hit back the BJP saying that voters would punish the party for its politics of defection.
“They are rolling back pro-poor schemes implemented by us when we were in power. The turncoat MLAs are not merely ‘disqualified’ but are ‘Nalayak’ (useless). The people of the state will teach a lesson to the BJP”
Another former CM H D Kumaraswamy who was also drumming up support for the Janata Dal (S) party candidate from Vijayanagara N M Nabi said the BJP toppled his government using unethical means and money power. Analysts say that the virulence in the campaign is mainly because the future of the state government hangs in balance.
Senior political analyst L Manjunath said, “Usually the ruling party enjoys the upper hand in bypolls but this time the fight is more even. It remains to be seen how the electorate responds to the turncoat candidates who till very recently were on the opposite side of the political fence. While all political campaigns are fiercely fought, Congress and JDS would be hoping to prevent BJP from getting those minimum six seats it requires to survive and thus the virulence on the poll trail.”