Hubballi: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sangamesh Nirani, who had contested as a rebel from the Jamkhandi constituency the last assembly poll, costing his party the seat, now appears keen on contesting the coming bypoll too from the segment, claiming he has the support of all Lingayat leaders in the party.
Having deserted his family to contest the last election as an independent despite opposition from his brother, and former Minister, Murugesh Nirani, Mr Sangmesh Nirani believes he can give a tough fight to the Congress, which is banking heavily on the sympathy factor seeing it through by fielding the son of its deceased legislator, Anand Nyamgoudar in the bypoll.
Once again lobbying hard for the party ticket, he feels he is a better bet than former MLA, Shrikant Kulkarni, who lost the May election despite being financed by the party, the campaign by over 240 RSS members in the constituency and Prime Minister Narendra Modi holding a rally in Jamkhandi.
"It will be tough for Kulkarni to win the election this time too as he does not have a good rapport with the party workers,” he argued. In his view, the fielding of Mr Anand Nyamagoudar will fetch the Congress only Ganiger Lingayat votes as he belongs to the comnunity.
“The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has 75,000 votes and the Congress only 50,000 in the constituency. We have won from Jamkhandi only in a direct fight between the Congress and BJP and lost every time there was a split in our vote bank,” he recalled.
But the Bharatiya Janata Party leader, who been doing a lot of social work in the constituency through his MRN Foundation to keep his votebank intact, clarified that he would not contest as a rebel this time if denied the party ticket.
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