Political bigwigs set to descend on Kundagol

As campaign for the byelection to the Legislative Assembly from Kundagol is gathering pace, a large number of political leaders are likely to visit the constituency in the coming days as winning the seat has become crucial for both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

On Friday, Saunshi, a small town in Kundagol taluk, saw a huge gathering of Congress leaders. The former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Ministers D.K. Shivakumar and Satish Jarkiholi, and KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao were among the leaders who attended a convention at Saunshi.

For the Congress, the bypoll is a crucial one as it has to retain the seat in view of the volatile political situation in the State, thanks to BJP’s alleged efforts to topple the coalition government.

Kusumavati Shivalli, wife of the former Minister late C.S. Shivalli, is the Congress candidate.

After reported displeasure by Mr. Jarkiholi on making his Cabinet colleague Mr. Shivakumar the campaign in charge for Kundagol, the party has revised the list of leaders who are in charge of campaigning.

Now, apart from Mr. Shivakumar, three others are overall in charge of Kundagol constituency — senior Minister R.V. Deshpande, chairman of KPCC campaign committee H.K. Patil, and AICC secretary in charge of Belagavi division Manickam Tagore.

Former Ministers Vinay Kulkarni and Santosh Lad are the “joint in charge”. This apart, there are five coordinators— KPCC general secretaries Naveen Bhandary and S.G. Nanjayyanamath, KPCC secretary Prakashgouda L. Patil, party’s Dharwad urban unit president Altaf Halwoor and rural unit president Anilkumar Patil. All these leaders are set to meet in Hubballi on Saturday to chalk out a plan of action.

Likewise, the BJP too is on a campaign mode, and already many MLAs and leaders are on the ground. The BJP candidate, S.I. Chikkanagoudar, is a relative of party State unit president B.S. Yeddyurappa.

While the former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar is leading the campaign for the party, he will be joined by Mr. Yeddyurappa, the former Minister Govind Karjol, and Pralhad Joshi, MP. The party has planned a rally on May 5. According to BJP insiders, several of its MLAs and MPs are likely to canvass in Kundagol.


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