Political parties gear up for election to 25 Council seats
Even before the dust of the bitterly fought byelections to Hangal and Sindgi has settled, political parties are gearing up for election to 25 seats in the Legislative Council in December. In the current seat matrix, none of the parties have a majority, but this election is being seen as an opportunity for the BJP to get majority in the House while the JD(S) will be fighting to retain its seats – numbers that have been declining in the recent years.
On January 5, 2022, the tenure of some of the senior members across the three parties, who have been elected to the Legislative Council from local bodies will come to an end. Currently, in the 75-member House, BJP is the largest party with 32 seats, Congress has 29, and JD(S) has 12 members. Besides the Chairman, there is one Independent.
Of the 25 members set to retire, Congress member Srinivas Mane has been elected to the Legislative Assembly from the recently held byelections from Hangal.
Though the Election Commission is yet to announce the dates for the election, the parties have started preparations. On Sunday, senior Congress leaders were in a huddle to discuss strategies to retain the seats and to thwart BJP’s effort to get a majority in the House. The BJP on the other hand has announced ‘Jana Swaraj’ conclaves from November 19, involving gram panchayat members, Legislative Assembly and Council members and MPs. “The conclaves are being held to win the maximum number of seats and we are starting poll preparations early. The list of candidates will be shortlisted here but finalised by the Central leadership,” BJP state general secretary N. Ravikumar said on Sunday. “We will focus on gram panchayat members.”
The election is being held in the absence of formation of zilla panchayats and taluk panchayats for which elections have been postponed. Voting in the Council polls will be affected due to this change while the newly elected gram panchayat members will be key in the polls.
The JD(S) is expecting desertion with three of its members Sandesh Nagaraj, Kantharaj (BML), and C.R. Manohar believed to be leaving the party. Mr. Nagaraj and Mr. Manohar have approached the BJP for ticket, it is learnt. Acknowledging the development, Mr. Ravikumar said: “The party’s core committee will decide on these issues.”
Meanwhile, JD(S) spokesperson T.A. Sharavana said the preparation has already started, and some possible candidates have come forward seeking ticket. “Candidates will be finalised by senior leaders in the party forum after the dates are announced by the Election Commission.”
Riding on a morale boosting victory in Hangal, the Congress is strategising to retain its seats, and increase its presence in the House. Currently, despite being the largest Opposition party in the House, it has been unable to block some crucial Bills as the JD(S) has either supported or abstained when the Bills are being passed, helping the BJP Government, Congress sources said. Though the discussion has begun, the list of probable candidates will be announced later, sources said.
BJP forms four teams for state tour
The BJP has announced four teams led by different leaders to tour across the state as part of the ‘Jana Swaraj’ conclaves ahead of the election to 25 seats in the Legislative Council.
The teams, announced by BJP state general secretary N. Ravikumar on Sunday, will be led by former Chief Ministers B.S. Yediyurappa and Jagadish Shettar, BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel, and Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister K.S. Eshwarappa. Each team will start its work after having breakfast in the residence of a gram panchayat president.
The division of election-related work comes on the heels of Mr. Yediyurappa unilaterally announcing that he would undertake a statewide tour to strengthen the party following the Hangal bypoll debacle. Sources said the teams have been formed to broadbase the leadership in the party instead of allowing Mr. Yediyurappa to hog the limelight.
Meanwhile, BJP national general secretary and Karnataka incharge Arun Singh will arrive in Bengaluru on Monday to consult with leaders as part of efforts to incorporate the lessons learnt from the bypolls in the party’s strategy for the 2023 Assembly elections.