KALABURAGI: With campaigning coming to an end for the bypolls to Maski and Basavakalyan on Thursday evening, the fear is that these two constituencies may have gifted Covid-19 to senior leaders who campaigned here. Polling is scheduled for Saturday, and counting is on May 2. BJP candidate for Maski (ST- Reserve) Prathapgouda Patil who tested positive, requested his followers through a video message to undergo RT-PCR test if they were in contact with him. He expressed his inability to campaign, and isolated himself. He will be in isolation on the day of election too.
Deputy Chief Minister Govind Karjol, who campaigned in Maski, tested positive and is under treatment for the second time in a year. Surpur MLA G Raju Gowda, who also campaigned in Maski, has tested positive. BJP National General Secretary Arun Singh and CM B S Yediyurappa campaigned for their candidates Sharana Salgar in Basavakalyan and Prathapgouda Patil in Maski.
In Basavakalyan constituency, KPCC working president Eshwar Khandre, entrusted with the task of leading the campaign, tested Covid-positive a few days ago. While this is the story of leaders, it is not known how many of their followers tested positive later.
BJP state vice-president B Y Vijayendra and Social Welfare Minister B Sriramulu camped in Maski for about 10 days, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Housing Minister V Somanna and Transport Minister Laxman Savadi spent most of their time campaigning in Basavakalyan. Former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and senior JDS leader Bandeppa Kashampur also campaigned continuously for a week in Basavakalyan.
Senior Congress leaders and public representatives formed groups to look after campaigns in 38-40 villages in Basavakalyan. Big leaders like AICC General Secretary Randeep Surjewala, Opposition leader in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, former CM Siddaramaiah, KPCC president D K Shivakumar and others too campaigned for their candidates Mala B Narayana Rao in Basavakalyan and Basavana Gowda Turvihal in Maski.Distributing money to woo voters created a buzz in Maski, with the authorities filing 14 complaints of election malpractice, and arresting four BJP activists.