BENGALURU: While bypolls for the constituencies of the 17 disqualified MLAs are yet to be announced, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, as well as some other Congress leaders, have already begun campaigning for the past one week.
Siddaramaiah has busied himself visiting flood-hit areas where bypolls could take place based on the fate of the disqualified MLAs. Being an MLA from Badami, Siddaramaiah is also visiting North Karnataka as well as Hunsur, his home turf, leaving no chance unexplored to tighten his grip over both regions.
On Friday, he was in Bilenahosahalli, Konanahosahalli, Haarangi Naala and surrounding places in Hunsur. The constituency was represented by A H Vishwanath, the former JDS state president. Vishwanath is one of the rebel MLAs and had a continuous fight with his one-time friend Siddaramaiah over the latter’s handling of the coalition coordination committee.
But this is about more than just bypolls. If one looks at Siddaramaiah’s tweet from Monday. he had appealed to party workers to strengthen the Congress. In his tweet, he had said, “The mid-polls can happen anytime. I doubt if the B S Yediyurappa government will survive for long. It is not easy for them to run the government by including rebels.” Post this tweet, he has travelled to Athani, Gokak and Kagawad assembly constituencies in Belagavi, represented by Mahesh Kumthalli, Ramesh Jarkiholi and Shrimanth Patil respectively.
“On August 28, Siddaramiah even undertook a walkathon (paadayathre) at Gokak. He is still known for his walkathon from Bengaluru to Ballari a decade back. This worked in his favour then,’’ sources said.
KPCC Working President Eshwar Khandre said that irrespective of the Supreme Court order on the disqualified MLAs, bypolls will be held in Karnataka at these 17 places. “We have started preparation and groundwork. Senior leaders including Siddaramiah are visiting flood-affected places and also assembly constituencies where bypolls will be held. We are looking for candidates and names have not been finalised. Siddaramiah is interacting with party workers in finalising candidates. We are looking for loyal and winnable candidates,’’ he added.
Marching towards bypolls
Aug 27: Visited Kagwad and Athani assembly constituency
Aug 28: Paadayatra in Gokak assembly constituencies
Aug 30: Visited various flood-affected places in Hunsur assembly constituency
Aug 31: Mangaluru