Coalition force: Will JD(S)-Congress unity wreck BJP’s bypoll hopes?

Bengaluru: The BJP is reportedly worried about consolidation of secular votes owing to the alliance between the Janata Dal (Secular) and Congress and its impact on the three Lok Sabha and two assembly bypolls held recently.

While the battle with the coalition partners has been tough for the saffron party in Shivamogga, Ballari and Jamakhandi constituencies, the  BJP has almost given up on winning from Mandya and Ramanagara, according to party insiders. Sources close to state BJP chief B.S. Yeddyurappa say he is worried the party could lose its Lok Sabha seat of Ballari to Mr V S Ugrappa of the Congress, but appears confident about retaining the Shivamogga Lok Sabha seat, albeit by a narrow margin.

State BJP general secretary, N. Ravikumar however, declared on Monday that the  BJP would win from Shivamogga by a margin of around one-and-a-half lakh votes and by a narrow margin from Ballari and Jamkhandi. 

“We had a tough fight on our hands in Ballari and Jamkhandi due to malpractice and misuse of government machinery by the ruling coalition in the state. Although we have a strong base in Ballari, the Congress bought voters with its money power and both its leaders and those of the JD(S) camped in Ballari to defeat (former MP) Sriramulu and Yeddyurappa. The entire government has shifted from Vidhana Soudha to Shivamogga, Ballari and Jamkhandi to defeat BJP,” he charged, claiming, “Besides distributing money, the government misused its machinery for the elections. We did well in the rural areas of Jamkhandi, but the Congress has a strong network in its urban parts.” Mr. Ravikumar contended that the byelection results would have no impact on the coalition government in the state.


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