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Voting for three corporation polls in Karnataka underway

Bengaluru, Voting for Belagavi, Hubballi-Dharwad and Kalaburagi city corporations is under way.Over 17 lakh voters will decide the fate of 1,105 candidates contesting from 195 wards.While 82 wards are going for polls in Hubballi-Dharwad, as many 58 and 55 wards are going for polls in Belagavi and Kalaburagi, respectively. This is the first poll test for Basavaraj Bommai after assuming the charge as the chief minister. He has been facing resentment from local leaders from Belagavi and Hubballi-Dharwad. Jarkiholi brothers, Laxman Savadi and their aides from Belagavi and Arvind Bellad from Hubballi-Dharwad, have been left out of his ministry. These MLAs have expressed their dissent openly and Bommai too has acknowledged their dissent by saying it is but natural for everyone to nurse the aspirations of becoming ministers.

He, however, has assured them of taking up the matter with the central leadership when he visits Delhi sooner than later. Though the results of these polls will not have an immediate effect on political parties ahead of 2023 assembly elections, it will indicate the mood of the people, who are facing fuel and gas price rise. Belagavi Corporation Polls For the first time in its history, the Belagavi City Corporation is seeing active participation of all the political parties. There are 58 wards going to polls in Belagavi city. For the first time, candidates are being fielded officially by the BJP, Congress, MES-Shivsena, JDS and AIMIM. Earlier, most of the candidates in fray were divided either in Kannada or Marathi group in the election and the political parties had an internal understanding with them and rallied behind them in the elections. There are heavy chances of Marathi votes getting split because of the entry of BJP and Congress, along with MES-Shivsena coalition, JDS and AIMIM parties.

It remains to be seen whether BJP will have an internal understanding with Shivsena-MES will to avoid split in Marathi votes. For Congress too, the task of winning seats is difficult with Assauddin Owaisi’s AIMIM and JDS entering the fray, which could divide Muslim votes. Hubballi-Dharwad Corporation Polls Congress and BJP are battling it out in Hubballi-Dharwad Municipal Corporation, but both the national parties are facing dissidence, with the Congress booting out 37 leaders while and BJP expelling 23 for anti-party activities. The expelled candidates and other small parties have the potential to upset the national parties’ calculations by eating into the votes of the national parties. The Hubballi-Dharwad polls are very crucial for chief minister Basavaraj Bommai as it is his hometown. If the BJP fails to hold on to power for the third time, Bommai will have to deal with his rivals within the party, who are nursing resentment for not being inducted into his ministry.

BJP MLA Arvind Bellad and former chief minister Jagadish Shettar, whose hometown is also Hubballi-Dharwad, are not in Bommai’s ministry. Kalaburagi Corporation Polls in Kalaburagi, smaller parties like JDS, AAP and AIMIM are giving a run for their money to the BJP and Congress, as their entry has pushed the national parties into a fix, fearing split in the votes.Congress is facing an uphill task after the loss of its former minister late Qamar-ul-Islam as his supporters who have joined AIMIM and JDS, after they were denied tickets.Last elections, the Congress had emerged as the single largest party and came to power with the support of the Independents. The BJP is depending on the votes of Lingayats and Brahmins, the Congress is banking on the votes of Dalits, OBCs and minorities. Counting of votes will take place on September 6. 

(EW correspondent)



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