Allegations of bribery mark last day of campaigning for K’taka bypolls


Team Udayavani, Nov 2, 2020, 8:45 AM IST

Bengaluru: The high voltage campaigning for the November 3 bypolls to two assembly seats in Karnataka ended on Sunday. The BJP and the Congress have been engaged in a bitter war of words over the alleged bribery.

Former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Sunday accused the BJP of transporting cash to Sira, even as the Congress released video tapes purportedly showing BJP workers enticing people to vote for their candidate in R.R. Nagar. Despite the results of the bypolls in Sira and R.R. Nagar not having any consequence for the BJP government, the election is being fought tooth and nail.

The run-up to the bypolls in R R Nagar in the city and Sira in Tumakuru district, which has a total of 31 candidates in the fray, saw the ruling BJP, opposition Congress and JD(S) hurl charges at each other.

In R R Nagar, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had promised to make BJP candidate Munirathna a minister “after he wins the polls,” which drew a sharp reaction from Congress, with its state chief D K Shivakumar alleging that it was a violation of the model code of conduct.

The Congress, which has fielded H Kusuma, wife of former IAS officer late D K Ravi in the seat traditionally held by the party, accused JD(S) of playing spoilsport.

The JD(S) has fielded V Krishnamurthy.

“We all know the Noora Kushti (friendly fight) going on between BJP and JD(S),” Congress MP D K Suresh said on October 31, a statement which drew flak from JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy.

In Sira, the BJP, Congress, and JD(S) have fielded radiologist Dr. Rakesh Gowda, former minister T B Jayachandra and former (JD-S) MLA B Satyanarayana’s wife Ammajamma respectively.

Satyanarayana’s death after a prolonged illness in August warranted the Sira bypoll.

The BJP has never won the election from there, but this time, the party would try to turn the tables on the Congress and the JD(S). Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa’s son and BJP state vice president B Y Vijayendra led the election campaign here.

During campaigning, the Chief Minister had said that the BJP had lost its deposit here but that the voters have made up their mind this time to give the saffron party a chance. If that were to happen, it will be another dent in the JD(S) citadel.

BJP had already wrested the KR Pet assembly constituency in Mandya from JD(S), which was its stranglehold.

A year ago during the Lok Sabha election, a BJP backed independent MP Sumalatha Ambareesh, a multilingual film actress, had won the election from Mandya defeating the JD(S) first family H D Deve Gowda’s grandson and H D Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil Kumaraswamy.

The JD(S) and the Congress have left no stone unturned to prevent the BJP from making any gains here.

In the 224 RPT 224 seat assembly, BJP has 116 MLAs minus the Speaker, Congress 67 and JD(S) 33, BSP 1 and there are two independents.

There is also a nominated member.

Four seats are vacant, of which elections to R R Nagar and Sira, will take place on November 3.

Elections to Maski and Basava Kalyan, will be held later.

While the election in Maski is caught in a legal tangle, the Basava Kalyan seat fell vacant due to the death of Congress MLA B Narayan Rao.

The counting of votes for the bypolls will take place on November 10.

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