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Karnataka polls: BS Yediyurappa needs win to reaffirm leadership status

Express News Service

BENGALURU : For Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, the bypolls are a chance to reaffirm and reassert his leadership within the party, especially amid speculation over leadership change. It will again prove his ability to win elections in Vokkaliga-dominated constituencies like RR Nagar and Sira, that were won by the Congress and JDS in 2018.

The CM will hit the campaign trail in Sira on Friday, and RR Nagar on Saturday, to muster support for party candidates.

Keen to continue its winning streak under Yediyurappa’s leadership, the BJP is making all  efforts to win both seats and expand its base.

In the bypolls to 15 assembly segments last November, after he took over as Chief Minister, Yediyurappa managed a win in 12 constituencies. That election gave the government much-needed stability, and Congress and JDS legislators who resigned from their assembly membership to help BJP form the government, made it to the Cabinet. 

This time around, it’s a different challenge. The Congress is taking on the government on a number of issues, like handling of the Covid pandemic and flood situation, farmers are taking to the streets to protest against the Land Reforms and APMC Acts, a pandemic-induced economic slowdown has hit the government’s ability to take up any development works, and to add to that, leaders like former Union minister Basanagouda Patil Yatnal are openly talking of the possibility of leadership change.

Under these circumstances, winning both the seats will help Yediyurappa silence his critics and emerge as leader both within and outside the party. Taking no chances, the party deployed a number of senior leaders in both constituencies. In Sira, where the Congress seems to be giving the BJP a tough fight, CM’s son and party state unit vice-president BY Vijayendra is in charge.

Also, ensuring Muniratna’s victory in RR Nagar will give Yediyurappa more confidence, as he was among the rebel Congress legislators who joined the BJP last year and played a key role in government formation. The RR Nagar victory will boost the BJP strength in Bengaluru. Sira, where the BJP has never won, will give the CM additional muscle power.

  • Amid leadership-change rumours, bypoll win will prove crucial
  • BJP grabbed 12 of 15 seats in the previous bypolls, wants to continue winning streak
  • Has to contend with an aggressive Opposition taking up serious issues 

With bypolls to Sira and RR Nagar seats on November 3, Karnataka’s prominent leaders have something to prove — BS Yediyurappa needs to reaffirm his leadership status, HD Deve Gowda has to claw back into the reckoning and DK Shivakumar has to live up to his image.

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