BELAGAVI: Amid hectic lobbying for the Congress party ticket for the upcoming by-election to the legislative council from Vijayapura-Bagalkot local bodies constituency, Sunilgouda Patil, brother of former minister M B Patil, has emerged as the frontrunner. The seat fell vacant after Basangouda Patil Yatnal quit as MLC after winning the recent assembly election from Vijayapura constituency.
In the polls scheduled for September 6, Congress is keen on fielding Sunilgouda Patil even as other aspirants including former MLA Sharanappa Sunagar and Mallikarjun Loni also are exerting pressure on the party leadership.
The Congress and the BJP are expected to be involved in a direct clash for the seat. The BJP wants to retain the seat by fielding a strong contender. According to sources, former MLA C S Nadagouda, who had lost to Yatnal in the last MLC polls, is also lobbying for the Congress party ticket but he is unlikely to be considered.
With the confidence of getting the ticket for his brother, M B Patil has strongly rallied behind him, even finishing one round of campaigning in both Vijayapura and Bagalkot districts. A series of irrigation projects which M B Patil implemented in the region and his links with the party high command could boost Sunilgouda’s chances of getting the ticket, sources said.
The latter’s rapport with party workers would come in handy for him to stake his claim on the ticket. Already, the Patils have begun preparations for the election and are working out strategies in association with Congress top leaders in Bengaluru. However, the rival faction involving Health Minister Shivanand Patil and Indi MLA Yashwantgouda Patil may oppose Sunilgouda in the fray.
The Congress party has taken the upcoming election seriously and is keen on fielding a candidate on the ‘winnability’ factor, the sources said.