On November 3, bypolls will be conducted on two assembly seats in Karnataka – Sira in Tumkur district and Raja Rajeshwari Nagar in Bengaluru. These bypolls may not have an impact on the government in Karnataka as the BJP enjoys a comfortable majority (116 out of the 224 assembly seats) but are a matter of prestige for chief minister BS Yediyurappa.
The bypolls are also crucial for state Congress chief DK Shivakumar who is being investigated by the CBI on charges of corruption and money laundering because of which raids were conducted by CBI on multiple locations on October 5.
Here’s a look at the two Southern Karnataka seats of Sira and the RR Nagar that are going to the bypolls:
Sira Assembly seat:
The legislative assembly seat in Sira fell vacant following the death of Janata Dal (Secular) JDS legislator B Sathyanarayana on August 5.
BJP: The BJP has fielded Dr Rajesh Gowda, a radiologist for the Sira seat. Gowda’s father CP Mudalagiriappa was a two- time Chithradurga Lok Sabha member. For BJP, winning this seat is pertinent as Yediyurappa’s younger son B Y Vijayendra, who is at the centre of the controversy over the corruption allegations, has been actively involved with Gowda’s campaign.
Congress: Congress has fielded veteran leader and former minister T B Jayachandra. Jayachandra represented Sira in 2008 and 2013.
Janata Dal (Secular): JDS has fielded Ammajamma, wife of former MLA Satyanarayan as it is banking on the sympathy wave. Ammajamma was reluctant and wanted her son BS Sathyapraksh to get the ticket.
RR Nagar Assembly seat:
The seat has had no representation in the Assembly since July 2019 after incumbent MLA N Munirathna defected from the Congress to the BJP.
BJP: New joinee and former Congress MLA N Munirathna, a film producer who is known for his philanthropic work, has got the BJP ticket for contesting the bypoll from RR Nagar. He has won the seat twice in 2013 and 2018 from the Congress.
Congress: Congress has fielded 31-year-old H Kusuma, the daughter of a JD(S) leader and wife of former IAS officer D K Ravi who died in March 2015. Her father Hanumantharayappa was earlier with the Congress before switching to JD(S). Winning this seat is crucial for the party as RR Nagar is considered a stronghold of DK Shivakumar.
Janata Dal (Secular): JDS has picked V Krishnamurthy as its nominee for the seat. The JD(S) was palpably confused while picking a candidate for the seat as Congress candidate H Kusuma’s father Hanumantharayappa was its candidate in the 2008 election after Congress denied him the ticket.
The voter turnout in Sira and RR Nagar was 84.77 per cent and 54.34 per cent respectively during the 2018 assembly elections. In the upcoming bypolls the turnout is expected to be lesser due to the coronavirus pandemic.