Karnataka bypolls: Dust settles on public campaign


With the deadline for public campaigning ending on Thursday evening, leaders of major political parties spent the day holding roadshows and rallies in a bid to woo voters in the three constituencies of Belagavi, Maski and Basavakalyan, which will see bypolls on Saturday.

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa was in Belagavi to campaign for the BJP candidate. Although he was to participate in various programmes, his ill health forced him to cut short the campaign in the afternoon itself. However, other party leaders, including Union Minister Pralhad Joshi and Minister Umesh Katti, continued on. Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar held continuous rallies in rural pockets. Mr. Shettar’s son is married to the daughter of BJP candidate Mangala, wife of the late Suresh Angadi.

In Belagavi, the Congress seemed muted in comparison as the party candidate, Satish Jarkiholi, who is also Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) working president, was busy campaigning for the party’s candidate at Maski.

In an interesting turn of events, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut landed in Belagavi to support Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) candidate Shubham Shelke and took part in a roadshow with him. Mr. Raut also held a press conference to convey that Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had personally appealed to the people of Belagavi to support Mr. Shelke.

In Basavakalyan Assembly constituency, both BJP and Congress leaders landed in good numbers to campaign.

Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi and Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai were among the leaders who held roadshows with party candidate Sharanu Salgar. On the other hand, Congress leaders Priyank Kharge, Ajay Singh, and Sharanu Prakash Patil participated in the campaign of Mala B. Narayana Rao. The BJP’s rebel candidate Mallikarjun Khuba held a public meeting and made a fervent appeal to defeat the “outsider” BJP candidate to uphold the “self-respect” of Basavakalyan.

Maski constituency saw hectic campaigning by Congress leaders, with KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar and Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah leading the show. Party candidate Basanagouda Turvihal was joined by Mr. Satish Jarkiholi. Interestingly, there were not many BJP leaders in Maski. BJP legislator N. Ravikumar and local leaders canvassed.

CM cuts short visit

Mr. Yediyurappa could not canvass as per his itinerary in Belagavi as high fever and exhaustion forced him to cut short his programmes. He left the roadshow in Belagavi halfway.

However, before that, the Chief Minister addressed around 70 seers who had congregated at Hukkeri Hiremath in Belagavi. He sought the seers’ blessing for party candidate Mangala Angadi and for making the State COVID-free soon.

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