The campaigning for the November 3 bye-polls to two Assembly seats in RR Nagar and Sira in Karnataka ended on Sunday. The run up to the bye-polls in RR Nagar in Bengaluru and Sira in Tumakuru district, which has a total of 31 candidates in the fray, saw the ruling BJP, opposition Congress and JD(S) hurl charges at each other.
In RR Nagar, Chief Minister BSYediyurappa promised to make BJP candidate Munirathna a minister if he wins the polls. Yediyurappa's claim drew a sharp reaction from Congress, with its state chief DK Shivakumar alleging that it was a violation of the model code of conduct.
The Congress, which has fielded H Kusuma, wife of former IAS officer late DK Ravi in the seat traditionally held by the party, also accused JD(S) of playing spoilsport.The JD(S) has fielded V Krishnamurthy.
In Sira, the BJP has fielded radiologist Dr Rakesh Gowda while Congress fielded former minister T B Jayachandra and JD(S) gave a ticket to former MLA B Satyanarayana's wife Ammajamma. Satyanarayana's death after prolonged illness in August necessitated the Sira bye-poll.The BJP has never won the election from there, but this time, the party is trying to turn the tables on the Congress and the JD(S).
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa's son and BJP state vice president BY Vijayendra led the election campaign in Sira. During campaigning, the Chief Minister had said that the BJP had lost its deposit here but that the voters have made up their mind this time to give the saffron party a chance.
Insiders in the party drew parallels with BJP's surprising win in 2018 in the KR Pet Assembly constituency in Mandya, which was a JD(S) stronghold.
A year ago during the Lok Sabha election, a BJP backed independent MP Sumalatha Ambareesh, a multilingual film actress, had won the election from Mandya defeating JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda's grandson and HD Kumaraswamy's son Nikhil Kumaraswamy.
In the 224-seat assembly, BJP has 116 MLAs minus the Speaker, Congress 67 and JD(S) 33, while BSP has 1 MLA and there are two independents.
Four seats are vacant, of which elections to RR Nagar and Sira, will take place on November 3.
Elections to Maski and Basavakalyan constituencies will be held later.
While the election in Maski is caught in a legal tangle, the Basavakalyan seat fell vacant due to the recent death of Congress MLA B Narayan Rao. The counting of votes for the bye-polls will take place on November 10.