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Karnataka polls: Results to decide fate of top leaders

IANS | May 13, 2023 08:41 AM

BENGALURU: The election results are crucial for the top leadership in Karnataka who are vying for big roles once the results are announced.

The victory and defeat will have a direct bearing on the political career of Opposition leader Siddaramaiah, Karnataka Congress President D.K. Shivakumar, former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, former Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi, and Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai among others.

The victory for the Opposition leader Siddaramaiah is crucial as he is the Chief Minister post aspirant. BJP has put a formidable candidate in the form of V. Somanna against him in Varuna seat. His defeat would eliminate him from the race of the Chief Minister.

With exit polls suggesting Congress to emerge as a single largest party, the stakes are running high for Siddaramaiah. The results will also have direct bearing on the political career of Minister for Housing V. Somanna. Somanna has been promised a Deputy Chief Minister post by the party high command if he defeats Siddaramaiah. Somanna is contesting from the high voltage Varuna seat in Mysuru and Chamarajanagar seat in neighbouring Chamarajanagar.

Varuna has seen 84.74 per cent of voting. Siddaramaiah has announced that he would win by 30, 000 votes, while Somanna has claimed that he will win comfortably. It is one of the most keenly awaited results.

All eyes are also on Hubballi-Dharwad Central seat from where former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar is contesting from Congress. The BJP, enraged by his defection at crucial juncture, has put all its might to defeat him on his own turf. Shettar, a six-time MLA has fight with Mahesh Tenginakayi, a new face and once his right-hand man.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah had held a series of meetings in Hubballi and the party had asked former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa to station at Hubballi and ensure Shettar's defeat.

Laxman Savadi, who jumped ships to Congress from the BJP is contesting from Athani seat in crucial Belagavi district and the results will have direct bearing on his future political career in Congress. Both the leaders have claimed that humiliation by BJP leadership had led them to quit the saffron party.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai is seeking re-election from Shiggaon seat in Haveri district and his victory is also important for his future career in BJP. It is a 'do or die' situation for former BJP minister C.P. Yogeshwara who is competing against former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy. Kumaraswamy had 'sworn' to end the political career of Yogeshwar, who played an active role in 'operation lotus' in 2019 and ensured collapse of Congress-JD(S) coalition government.

Senior BJP leader S. Suresh Kumar is facing a formidable contest from Congress candidate Puttanna in Rajajinagar seat in Bengaluru. The BJP is hoping to wrestle Chamarajpet seat in Bengaluru from Congress senior leader B.Z. Zameer Ahmad Khan, who is deeply rooted. The saffron party has fielded former Bengaluru Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao against him.

It is a question of survival for Janardhana Reddy, who had floated the Kalyana Rajya Pragathi Paksha (KRPP) and challenged the BJP. He is contesting from Gangavathi seat in Raichur district and his wife Aruna Laxmi is competing against her brother-in-law Somashekara Reddy in Ballary district. Reddy had already announced support for Congress. The survival of his party depends on the victory.

The results of Puttur constituency in Dakshina Kannada district are also keenly awaited. The Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) has fielded Shafi Bellare, accused in BJP activist Praveen Kumar Nettare murder case, as its candidate. He is contesting election from the prison.

Vinay Kulkarni, a former minister from Congress and close aide of Siddaramaiah, is contesting from Dharwad seat. Kulkarni, an accused in BJP worker Yogesh Gowda's murder case, is facing restrictions to enter his constituency by the court.

The contest and bitter war of words between Priyank Kharge, son of Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge and BJP candidate Manikanth Rathod has made Chittapura constituency in Kalaburagi district has raised curiosity.

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