BENGALURU: The Election Commission of India is yet to announce the dates for bypolls to be held in three assembly seats and one Lok Sabha seat in Karnataka. But the BJP has already set its plan in motion to win all four. With monthly deadlines, the formation of multi-structural committees at every booth-level, the party has already gotten cracking on the election front. Newly-appointed election in-charges for bypoll-bound seats have been visiting their respective constituency to gauge the challenges and address concerns.
“We have begun the process of identifying karyakartas to be part of pancharatna committees, 13-member booth committee as well as panna pramukhs (page in-charges). Cadres have been given a deadline of February-end to compile workforce. We will have about 40-50 karyakartas in each booth and each out to every voter,” said N Ravikumar, MLC and General Secretary of the BJP. The pancharatna committees will include representation from five sections of voters- one woman, one SC, one ST, one OBC and one general karyakarta at every booth-level.
About a week ago, the party announced election in-charges for Basavakalyan and Maski assembly seats and Belagavi LS seat. State-unit vice-president B Y Vijayendra and general secretary N Ravikumar- both deemed stars of election management- winning challenging seats for the party- have been named in-charges for Maski along with four others, including Social Welfare minister B Sriramulu.
Interestingly, Maski is likely to see a peculiar instance of interchanged candidates. While former Congress MLA Pratap Gouda Patil- who won from the seat in 2018 but was disqualified for defection and proceeded to join the BJP in 2019- is most likely to be fielded as BJP candidate in Maski, Basana Gouda Turvihal — who contested as a BJP candidate in the 2018 assembly elections — is likely to be Congress’ candidate this time around. Turvihal joined the Congress in November 2020 as a mark of protest against party assuring Pratap gouda Patil a ticket to contest from the seat.
With JDS supremo and former Prime Minister HD Devegowda announcing that his party will not contest the upcoming bypolls, the contest is a two cornered one between the Congress and BJP. “The BJP will fight on its own strengths. The JDS has barely any presence in Maski. Now the contest is directly between the BJP and the Congress. Every seat is different and in Maski our former candidate joining the Congress is also a challenge,” said Vijayendra. He was responding to Congress’ allegation that the JDS had withdrawn from contest to help the BJP enhance its vote share.