bommai: Karnataka byelections: BJP bets on Bommai factor; Congress’s focus on fuel price | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: While Congress will fight the upcoming byelections to Sindgi (Vijayapura) and Hangal (Haveri) on issues such as rising fuel prices, soaring unemployment and inflation, BJP is betting on development and popularity of CM Basavaraj Bommai.
With diesel price touching Rs 100 per litre in the state, the Congress campaign revolves around cautioning people not to be misled by BJP’s promise to develop the constituencies. Instead, it wants them to focus on day-to-day issues.
“We’ve been campaigning on corruption and poor governance. But the fuel price hike has become a prominent issue,’’ said KPCC working president Saleem Ahmed.
Some Congress MLAs of Haveri and Vijayapura said people are feeling the impact of unemployment and price hikes, especially LPG and diesel, and they may reconsider their electoral choice.
“How long can BJP harp about development and Lingayat votes if jobs are hard to get, people are facing poverty and prices of essential commodities are soaring?” said Congress MLA Shivanand Patil.
He added: “The BJP succeeded in convincing people of KR Pet, Sira and RR Nagar about ensuring overall development. But now, people are aware about the problems.”
BJP says inflation and unemployment won’t be major factors.
“While I agree that fuel prices are high, inflation rate is still 4%-6% which is low. People are happy Bommai and how he has handled the state after taking charge about two months ago. His welfare schemes have struck a chord with the common man,’’ said BJP spokesperson Captain Ganesh Karnik.
Experts said Bommai’s popularity will decide the outcome.
“The Congress using price rise and unemployment to woo voters may not cut ice this time. And JD(S) fielding an educated Muslim candidate in both constituencies will definitely split the secular vote which Congress banks on a lot. The denial of ticket to the Udasi family in Hangal has vitiated the atmosphere in the local BJP unit and it remains to be seen how Bommai handles it,’’ political analyst Prof Ravindra Reshme said.
He added: “For the first time after a long period we have a CM from North Karnataka and Bommai is a familiar face for voters of the area who have seen him from his father SR Bommai’s tenure as CM. The Congress will have to counter the Bommai factor to wean away voters from BJP.”

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