It is being called the mother of all by-polls. With hardly a year remaining for the Karnataka assembly elections, both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress would go at each other to bag the Nanjangud and Gundlupet assembly constituencies. On April 9, both these constituencies would go to poll.
The battle, especially at Nanjangud, is one of prestige and pride. It would not be a pointer for the 2018 assembly elections, but it would surely set the ball rolling. It is the first big test for former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa after taking over as the BJP chief. For Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, it would be all about pride, as a loss could hurt him -- Nanjangud is 23 kilometres away from Mysuru -- his stronghold.
The Nanjangud seat fell vacant after senior Congress leader and veteran V Srinivas Prasad resigned in December. He was upset after being dropped by Siddaramaiah in the cabinet reshuffle that took place in December. He was welcomed with open arms by the BJP who will field him as the candidate from Nanjangud.
There is a lot at stake for Prasad and the BJP. Winning Nanjangud would not only make Prasad stronger, but also convey a strong message to Siddaramaiah. However, the Karnataka chief minister is not worried and says that the Congress is capable of retaining the constituency. He also said that there is no Modi wave as hyped by the media. UP was a result of communal politics and had there been a wave then the BJP would have won Punjab as well, he claims.
The by-poll in Gundlupet would be an interesting one too. A by-poll became necessary after the death of MLA Mahadeva Prasad in January. Gundlupet is a strong Congress bastion. The Congress has decided to field Prasad's wife and would bank on the sympathy factor.