Hubballi: The Congress, which is likely to tie up with the JD(S) for the by-election to the Assembly from Jamkhandi constituency, has reportedly almost decided to field Anand Nyamagouda, son of late MLA Siddu Nyamagouda, whose death has caused the bypoll, according to party sources. Clearly banking on the sympathy factor working in its favour, the Congress is already laying the ground for the poll with former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah visiting the town to discuss the party’s strategy with local leaders, encouraged by its win in the Jamkhandi municipal elections.
Winning the bypoll is a matter of prestige for Mr Siddaramiah as both the constituency and the Badami Assembly seat he represents are part of Bagalkot district. Mr Siddu Nyamgoudar had won the last election by a slender margin of 2,800 votes as Congress rebel, Shrishail Dalawai had grabbed a large chunk of votes. The BJP, which failed to win from the constituency despite a mammoth rally held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the town during the campaign, is expected to field former legislator, Shrikant Kulkarni for the bypoll.
Mr Kulkarni lost the last election as former minister, Murugesh Nirani’s brother, Sangamesh Nirani contested as a rebel and cornered around 25,000 votes. The rebel factor is continuing to worry the party as Mr Sangamesh Nirani has been doing a great deal of social work through his MRN Foundation to keep his votebank intact. Although Lingayat leaders in the district are backing him for the party ticket, Mr Kukarni too is lobbying hard for it and is reportedly confident of support from the Sangh Parivar.
The BJP could give the Congress a tough fight only if the party manages to resolve the rebel factor. Meanwhile, the Congress claims there is no threat from rebels to it and it can count on the Kuruba community to back it as Mr Siddaramaiah represents Badami.
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