BJP, Congress, MES-Shivsena triangular contest on cards in Belagavi City Corporation elections
The decision of all political parties to field their own candidates has put many noted leaders in Belagavi in a dilemma as most of the candidates from Kannada and Marathi groups earlier supported them
BELAGAVI: The upcoming election to Belagavi City Corporation will be different for the first time in its history with the active participation of all the political parties. So far, most of the candidates in fray were divided either in Kannada or Marathi group in the election. For the first time, candidates are being fielded officially by the BJP, Congress, MES-Shivsena, JDS and AIMIM.
The decision of all political parties to field their own candidates has put many noted political leaders in Belagavi in a dilemma as most of the candidates from Kannada and Marathi groups earlier were supported by them.
In the past, leaders of Congress and BJP would usually have an internal understanding with either Kannada or Marathi groups and rallied behind them in the elections so far. With Congress and BJP having their own candidates in the fray this time, the entry of candidates from the MES-Shivsena coalition, JDS, and AIMIM would split the votes of both the national parties. A majority of Marathi votes which swing in favour of BJP traditionally in elections to State Assembly and Lok Sabha in Belagavi would now split between the MES-Shivsena coalition and BJP. Whether the BJP and Shivsena-MES will have an internal pact to avoid the division of votes remains to be seen.
The Congress will also have an equally tough task to win the seats with AIMIM and JDS candidates in the fray who could grab a major chunk of their votes. However, all the political parties are hectically involved in working out their political strategies ahead of the September 3 City Corporation elections.
A senior leader of AIMIM, Latif Khan Pathan said, his party was keen to have its candidates only in the select wards where it had bright chances to win the seat.
"We are still discussing with our party workers and leaders to find out in which wards our candidates should be fielded. Given the support which our party has been getting in Belagavi, we will definitely perform well in the elections,'' he added.
A senior JDS leader Faizulla Madiwale said, his party had several potential candidates with the capacity to win the election. He ruled out the possibility of JDS having a tie-up with other parties and said, the corporation election would be fought on the local issues unlike election to the state assembly. Even as the D-day draws closer, the Congress party leaders are still undecided whether to field candidates or support the Independent candidates. But sources in the party said, the KPCC would certainly decide on fielding party candidates to counter the BJP and JDS.
KPCC Working President Satish Jarkiholi has his supporters both in Kannada and Marathi groups, as do several other MLAs like Abhay Patil, Anil Benake and Laxmi Hebbalkar.
In a city like Belagavi where the pro-Marathi group has won most of the corporation elections so far, a senior politician and former corporator from Kannada group Shivangouda Patil says, "There is a need to have a Kannada group in the corporation election to protect the larger interest of Kannada language and Karnataka. The group should come to power as the state government has worked hard to bolster the prospects of Kannada language and culture in Belagavi for several decades.''
Many leaders predict a triangular contest between BJP, Congress and MES-Shivsena in most of the 58 wards of Belagavi if the political parties field their candidates as expected into the fray.