Lok Sabha bypolls, a dry run for coalition

BENGALURU: For the fractious coalition, bypolls to three Lok Sabha seats scheduled for November 3 will be a dry run of sorts ahead of next year’s parliamentary elections specially as two of the three constituencies are boroughs of the BJP while also testing the waters to see if the Congress gameplan of an united Opposition can take on the NDA in 2019.

The bypolls to three Lok Sabha and two Assembly constituencies come at a time when many legislators in both the Congress and JD (S), including some former ministers, have turned restive about their ministerial aspirations going unanswered on numerous occasions. In addition, tension between leaders of both parties has been palpable with Congress ministers and legislators livid with Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy for taking decisions without consulting them or putting on hold their pet schemes. 

On their part, JD (S) leaders have suspected every move of former chief minister Siddaramaiah and his camp followers, accusing them, in private, of attempting to destabilize the government by tacitly supporting attempts by BJP leaders to poach legislators belonging to coalition parties. Much to their chagrin, the former chief minister set off tremors with his statement that he would return as chief minister at a function held in the home turf of JD (S) patriarch H.D. Deve Gowda before travelling abroad for a vacation. 

Mr Siddaramaiah later clarified that he spoke of a scenario post Assembly elections in 2023. Except his reaction to the poll announcement exposed how unprepared the Congress maybe to face the bypolls in Mandya, Shivamogga and Ballari.

Soon after announcement of the bypolls, Mr Siddaramaiah, however, issued a statement that a decision on the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) contesting three Lok Sabha and two Assembly constituencies as electoral allies would be taken after discussions with central leaders of the party.

“The issue of an expansion of the cabinet, too, will be discussed with the high command,” he added, although reliable sources have dismissed the notion as mere kite-flying.  

Meanwhile, state BJP president B S Yeddyurappa declared that his elder son B Y Raghavendra would be fielded in Shivamogga, a constituency which has 
witnessed the father and son combine rule since 2009. 

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