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Key bypolls in Karnataka tomorrow

Vicky Nanjappa | December 26, 2008 11:20 IST

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Assembly Elections 2008: Karnataka

It will be a litmus test for the Bharatiya Janata Party in Karnataka when it battles the Congress and the Janata Dal (S) in the by-poll to the eight constituencies in Karnataka on Saturday.

This election will test whether Operation Lotus launched by the first BJP government in South India is a success or not.

Soon after the BJP came to power in May 2008, it managed to take seven MLAs from the Janata Dal (S) and the Congress into its fold.

The media dubbed this operation as Operation Lotus.  However the BJP was forced to stop this operation due to an internal tussle as the senior leadership of the party was accused of favouringcandidatates while the original BJP workers had to make way for the defectors.

While elections to seven assembly constituencies will be held due to defection, the eighth one fell vacant following the death of a sitting MLA.

The by-poll which is being dubbed as a dry run to the Parliamentary elections will be held on December 27 while the votes would be counted on December 30.

While this election will test the fortunes of Cabinet ministers Umesh Katti (Hukkeri), Shivana Gouda (Devadurg), Balachandra Jarakiholi (Arabhavi) and Anand Asnotikar (Karwar), the fortunes of Anita Kumaraswamy, daughter in law of former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda and wife of former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy will also be put to test.

The battle between Anita Kumaraswamy and Chennigappa at the Madhugiri constituency will be a keenly contested. Chennigappa, once a close aide of of Deve Gowda, had defected to the BJP after the May elections. The Madhugiri constituency will also witness 36 other candidates battling the elections.

The other constituencies at which elections will be held are Turuvekere, Doddaballapur and Maddur. By polls to the Maddur constituency are being held in the event of the death of the winning JD(S) candidate, M S Siddaraju.

The May winners:

Hukkeri: This constituency was won by Umesh Katti of the Janata Dal (S) who later defected to the BJP.

Devadurg: Winner, Shivagoud of the JD(S), joined the BJP

Arabhavi: JD(S) candidate, Balachander Jharkoli joined the BJP

Karwar: Congress MLA Anand Asnotikar joined the BJP

Madhugiri: The seat was won by Gowrishankar of the JD(S) who incidentally is the son of Chennigappa. Both father and son crossed over to the BJP and now the father will be battling this JD(S) stronghold against Anita Kumaraswamy.

Turuvekere: Cine star Jaggesh [Images] had won this constituency on a Congress ticket. He then crossed over to the BJP.

Doddaballapur: J Narashimhaswamy of the Congress who had won this election crossed over to the BJP.

Maddur: Seat fell vacant following the death of JD(S) MLA, Siddaraju.

These elections matter the most to the JD(S) and the BJP. The JD(S), which had won just 28 seats in the May polls, lost five of its candidates to Operation Lotus.

The BJP with 110 seats in the 224 fell short of the magic number by three seats.

It, however, managed to rope in the support of five independent candidates and form the government.

Winning all the seats means that the BJP will have 118 seats independently which is five more than the magic figure required for an absolute majority in the Karnataka Assembly.

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