Karnataka by-polls: Will the JD(S)-Congress combine survive its first big test against BJP?
Bengaluru, Nov 5: The results of the by-elections in Karnataka will be keenly watched. Counting takes place for the elections that was conducted on Saturday.
While by-elections are generally not an indicator of the common mood, the ones in Karnataka are expected to have a larger bearing ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The results are significant as the coalition partners of the JD(S) and Congress who contested the elections together termed it as a "prelude" to the May 2019 general elections and called for a similar "grand secular alliance" against the BJP at the national level.
The BJP, which has been questioning the longevity of the coalition government, has predicted its fall once the by-poll results are out.
Polling to three Lok Sabha seats - Ballari, Shivamogga and Mandya and Ramanagara - and Jamkhandi assembly segments were held on Saturday.
Congress and JD(S), who came together in a post-poll alliance after the assembly elections in May this year threw up a hung House, faced the polls unitedly against the BJP, which they perceive as their common enemy.
While the Congress fielded its candidates in Jamkhandi and Ballari, JD(S) contested in Shivamogga, Ramanagara and Mandya under an electoral understanding.
The outcome of the bypolls is expected to have a bearing on the alliance between Congress and JD(S) for the 2019 polls and also be a factor in determining the respective bargaining power of the two parties.
The bypolls brought to fore family politics with kin of several leaders being fielded.
In Jamkhandi, Congress candidate Anand Nyamagowda, son of former MLA Siddu Nyamagouda, is pitted against Srikant Kulkarni of the BJP.
In Shivamogga, state BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa's son BY Raghavendra tested his fortunes against another former chief minister S Bangarappa's son Madhu Bangarappa of the JD(S).
In Ballari, senior BJP leader Sriramulu's sister J Shantha fought against V S Ugrappa of the Congress, considered anoutsider.
In the Vokkaliga bastion of Mandya, JD(S)'s Shivarame Gowda, was pitted against a fresh face in Dr Siddaramaiah, a retired Commercial Tax officer from the BJP.
The by-elections were necessitated after Yeddyurappa (Shivamogga) and Sriramalu (Ballari), and CS Puttaraju of JD(S) (Mandya) resigned as MPs on their election to the assembly in May this year.
By-polls to Jamkhandi assembly seat was caused by the death of Congress MLA Siddu Nyamagouda, while Ramanagara fell vacant after Kumaraswamy gave up the seat preferring Chennapatna, the other constituency from where he had won.