BJP goes full throttle for Belagavi Lok Sabha seat

However, Balachadra said this bypoll is against the Congress and not against an individual.

Published: 15th April 2021 06:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th April 2021 06:28 AM   |  A+A-

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and party candidate Mangala Angadi wave during a campaign

Express News Service

BELAGAVI: With the Congress-BJP clash in the bypoll for Belagavi Lok Sabha constituency expected to go down to the wire, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa has shifted his focus to the high-stakes battle rather than his government’s ongoing fight against the raging pandemic.Besides hitting the campaign trail trice in the last few days, the CM has ensured that party rallies and roadshows go full throttle to ensure the victory of Mangala Angadi, wife of former Minister of State for Railways late Suresh Angadi, under any circumstances.  

Even as the Congress campaign, headed by its candidate Satish Jarkiholi, evoked a tremendous response with political analysts predicting a tight clash between the two parties, BJP leaders are optimistic of winning the seat by more than 4 lakh votes. If the CM choosing to hold roadshows in Belagavi at the fag end of the campaign on Monday and Tuesday, and exiting Covid-ravaged Bengaluru, is any indicator, his rival party leaders said that he must have realised that the bypoll is going to be a humdinger.With the prevailing political trend believed to be strongly in favour of Satish in both Arabhavi and Gokak regions, a bastion of the Jarkiholi family, the CM held two roadshows in each town on Wednesday in an attempt to woo voters.

The BJP top leadership managed to rope in MLA Balachandra Jarkiholi, brother of Satish, into the campaign but Gokak MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi, who is embroiled in the CD-gate case, is unlikely to join the campaign, sources said. While the Congress camp is expecting to garner a major chunk of Lingayat votes due to the goodwill Satish enjoys in the Lingayat-majority areas of Bailhongal, Ramdurg and Saudatti, the BJP is confident that voters here will rally behind it the same way they did in the last Lok Sabha election.

Satish expressed confidence that he will bag a major chunk of votes in all eight assembly segments, including Gokak, Arabhavi, Bailhongal, Ramdurg and Saundatti, which predominantly has a Lingayat population. While the BJP is confident that Balachandra and Ramesh will help the saffron party get a big share of votes in their respective constituencies, Satish said, “People in Arabhavi and Gokak have always supported the Jarkiholis in all the elections and not the political parties. So, they are going to vote for me this time.”

However, Balachadra said this bypoll is against the Congress and not against an individual. “People of Arabhavi will rally behind the BJP in more numbers than the last LS polls, and Mangala Angadi will get more than 65,000 votes here,” he added. Yediyurappa has called the entry of Balachandra into the BJP campaign as crucial, indicating that it will add immense power to the party ahead of the April 17 bypoll.

The popularity of MES candidate Shubham Shelke in the last few days has put the BJP top leadership in a dilemma, as Shelke is expected to bag a major share of Marathi votes, traditional BJP supporters in the constituency.The Shiv Sena has also extended its support to Shelke with its leader from Mumbai, Sanjay Raut, campaigning for him in Belagavi. Given the prevailing political trend, the bypoll is certain to be a cliffhanger, with the BJP or Congress getting no less than 5 lakh votes each.


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