BELAGAVI: The much-awaited results of the three by-polls held for Belagavi Lok Sabha seat, Maski, and Basavakalyan assembly segments to be declared on May 2 are not only crucial for the BJP but also Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa.
The CM's leadership has come under the scanner in recent times with several leaders of his own party trying to unseat him.
With a neck-to-neck clash predicted between the BJP and Congress in all the three constituencies, the results are expected to give a massive boost to the winning sides, whether it is BJP or Congress.
At a time when Yediyurappa and his party are struggling to cope with the raging pandemic in the state, many in BJP feel that a victory in at least two seats including the Belagavi Lok Sabha seat will bolster the party's position in the state.
While the BJP leaders are confident that the people in all three constituencies, where majority of voters are Lingayats, will rally behind Yediyurappa, the Congress party leadership in the state predicts a clear win for it in all three seats claiming that the ruling government failed on all fronts.
The BJP is so desperate to grab the three seats that despite down with severe Covid-19 symptoms, the Chief Minister campaigned for the party and had a whirlwind campaign thrice in Belagavi to hold rallies back to back.
Belagavi Lok Sabha constituency has been a stronghold of the BJP with late Suresh Angadi, former Union Minister of State for Railways winning the seat four times, starting from the 2004 parliamentary election.
In an attempt to retain the seat based on the sympathy factor, the BJP fielded his wife Mangala Angadi. On the other side, Congress is desperate to grab the Belagavi seat which was once its stronghold. Against an inexperienced Mangala Angadi, the Congress fielded KCC Working President Satish Jarkiholi, finding it as the right opportunity to get the lost bastion back.
Senior Congress leader BL Shankar said, "The outcome of the three bypolls is important for the party as it will help send across a positive message ahead of the elections to ZP, TP, and Legislative Council.''
Satish Jarkiholi said, the Congress failed to deliver on all fronts and that the people would vote for the Congress party. In the last assembly election for the Maski seat, where the BJP lost to Congress by merely 213 votes, the bypoll is expected to produce another thrilling result.
After Pratapgouda Patil who was Congress candidate in the last election switched to BJP via Operation Lotus and Basangouda Turvihal quit BJP and joined the Congress, Now the clash is between the same rivals with different party affiliations. Both the Congress and BJP were involved in a hectic campaign for the Maski seat.
KPCC Working President Eshwar Khandre said, "The people are disappointed with the government's performance on all fronts. The government headed by Yediyurappa neglected the Kalyan Karnataka region and people will teach them a lesson in the elections. We will win all three seats and the election results will be a morale booster for the party cadre.''
The contest for the Basavakalyan assembly seat is also expected to be an interesting one between the BJP and Congress where the Congress fielded Mala Narayanrao, wife of the sitting MLA Narayanrao, whose death necessitated the bypoll there.
The BJP had fielded Sharanu Salgar of the BJP ignoring former MLA Mallikarjun Khuba who was a strong aspirant for the BJP ticket from Basavakalyan. But the BJP could not stop Khuba from entering the fray as a party rebel. However, the Yediyurappa camp has worked hard in Basavakalyan to ensure that the party votes did not split.