BENGALURU: The bypolls to two assembly seats in Karnataka seem to have taken ‘fresh face’ to a whole new level. Of the six candidates from three primary parties contesting in two seats, five are fresh faces — either to their party or to electoral politics itself. For reasons that range from fulfilling commitments to riding a sympathy wave, all three parties have attempted new dynamics this bypoll season.
While BJP’s candidate in Rajarajeshwari Nagar Muniratna is no newcomer to electoral politics, having won from the constituency earlier as well, this is the first time he is contesting on a BJP ticket. Muniratna — one of the 16 rebel coalition MLAs who joined the BJP in 2019 — was promised a ticket to contest Rajarajeshwari Nagar bypolls by none other than Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and party national president Jagat Prakash Nadda for his contribution in toppling the JDS-Congress coalition government and bringing BJP to power in Karnataka. Muniratna’s candidature comes despite the opposition from local cadres and leadership.
By fielding Kusuma, a newcomer to politics and party, the Congress hopes to win over women voters in Rajarajeshwari Nagar. Kusuma’s candidature came at a time the party was facing a tough time to zero in on a name. Kusuma’s father Hanumantharayappa has been aspiring to be a Congress candidate for years now. The Congress hopes to counter the ‘brute strength’ image of Muniratna, in terms of money and muscle power, with Kusuma’s image of a young, educated and independent woman who is taking on a challenge despite losing her husband — IAS officer D K Ravi — early in life.
Keen on pushing the idea that JDS is promoting grassroots level workers, especially after its humiliating failure in the 2018 bypolls in RR Nagar, the party has fielded Krishnamurthy, an office bearer and local unit chief. While Krishnamurthy has been a nominated member of the BBMP, this is his first assembly electoral battle.
Ammajamma, wife of late MLA from Sira B Satyanarayana, has been fielded by the JDS hoping to gain sympathy votes in the name of their departed legislator. Moreover, the party which tried hard to woo Dr Rajesh Gowda, now a candidate of the BJP, was convinced that Satyanarayana’s wife or son would make an ideal candidate. Ammajamma is new to JDS and electoral politics too.
Congress candidate in Sira T B Jayachandra is the only repeat candidate with the same party among the six contenders for two seats.BJP’s Sira candidate Dr Rajesh Gowda is making his electoral debut in this bypolls. Son of a former Congress MP, Rajesh Gowda’s candidature, the BJP hopes, will draw votes from his father’s followers, his personal camaraderie with JDS leaders, BJP’s own cadres as well as a huge chunk of Kadugolla community votes after the State government’s move to woo the community with a welfare board.