The upcoming bypolls in Karnataka will be an indicator of how the political landscape will tilt over the next couple of years. And as all three parties are gearing up for the battle, the Congress has found itself in a precarious position, scrambling for winnable candidates. With 80% of the seats that will poll formerly with the Congress party, the pressure on the newly elected Leader of the Opposition, Siddaramaiah, is very high to regain a large chunk of them. Finding candidates who will topple the disqualified MLAs is an uphill task and Siddaramaiah has formulated a formula to get the party closest to the finish line to launch a reverse poaching operation.
The Chief Minister made it clear that if the SC allows the disqualified MLAs to contest in the bypolls, then all of them will be given a BJP ticket to contest on. And that has caused heartburn to many aspirants within the BJP who have been demanding that old party loyalists, not the rebel Congress and JDS leaders, should be given a chance in bypolls. This dissidence within the BJP has presented an opportunity for Congress to offer tickets to the BJP rebels to fight on Congress tickets. In constituencies like Kagewada, Hosakote, Hirekerur and Maski the Congress plans to approach BJP candidates who had lost the 2018 assembly elections to currently disqualified MLAs and offer them a chance to settle scores both with the BJP leadership as well as their rivals.
A list has been prepared with names of BJP leaders like Bharamagouda Alagouda Kage(34.39%) who lost to Shrimant Balasaheb Patil (56.99%) in Kagewad, Banakar U B (47.73%) who lost to BC Patil (48.10%) in Hirekerur and Sharath Bachegowda (47.25%) who lost to MTB Nagaraju (51.19%) in Hosakote constituencies and most of the BJP dissidents have already been approached by the state leadership of Congress. On Tuesday in a meeting chaired by General Secretary of AICC in-charge of Karnataka, KC Venugopal attended by LoP Siddaramiah, KPCC president Dinesh Gundurao amongst others, the list will be presented and final green-signal for the reverse operation will be sought.