Political parties in Karnataka have expressed concern over a decision by the Election Commission of India to conduct bypolls for three Lok Sabha seats in the state on November 3, as elected members will be in office only for five months ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The bypolls were necessitated after BJP’s B S Yeddyurappa (Shimoga), B Sriramulu (Ballari) and JDS MP C S Puttaraju (Mandya) quit their seats after their election to the Karnataka Assembly in May.
“I cannot understand the intention behind holding the bypolls since general elections will be held in four or five months. None of the political parties in Karnataka are enthusiastic about this election,” said the BJP’s state president B S Yeddyurappa, who is looking at fielding his elder son and former MP B Y Raghavendra from the Shimoga seat.
Siddaramaiah, former Karnataka chief minister and chairman of the co-ordination committee for the Congress-JDS government, said, “The Lok Sabha election is going to be held in March and we were thinking that a bypoll will not be conducted. The ECI has, however, declared the dates of the by-elections. We will discuss our alliance strategy with the party high command and come up with a plan,” he said.
The Congress and JDS are expected to take forward their alliance in the state government to the Lok Sabha elections in the state.
“We will be fighting the election as an alliance. For the three parliament seats, discussions will be held by (H D) Kumaraswamy, Siddaramaiah and (G) Parameshwara to decide the candidate. There is no confusion and we will fight it as an alliance. JDS candidate will be fielded in Mandya. This election will not be an indicator for the Lok Sabha elections next year,” JDS national president H D Deve Gowda said.
The parties are also concerned as the bypolls have the potential to bring dissident activities within the three parties to the fore.
In the BJP, Yeddyurappa is likely to face resistance over his efforts to field his son from Shimoga against a joint candidate of the Congress and JDS. The Congress has chosen senior minister D K Shivakumar — who has been sulking after being forced to back down in a power battle within the Congress party — to handle the elections to the Ballari seat where the BJP is likely to field a candidate of former MP B Sriramulu.
The JDS is considering to launch one of Deve Gowda’s grandsons in the party’s stronghold in Mandya — a move that has the potential to cause divisions within the Vokkaliga patriarch’s family and the JDS party fold.