28 February, 2021

Karnataka Bypolls: Personal Stakes High For Senior Leaders

Karnataka bypolls are a matter of morale for the ruling coalition

Deve Gowda greets Siddaramaiah in Bangalore
Photograph by Getty Images
Karnataka Bypolls: Personal Stakes High For Senior Leaders

Last week, ahead of a round of bypolls, Karnataka witnessed a rare display of warm civility between old foes H.D. Deve Gowda and Siddaramaiah. The two veteran politicians, who fell out over a decade ago, sat together at a press conference, contemplating a way forward. Their immediate concern, of course, was to plan a strategy for the ruling Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress coalition aimed at the impending five by-elections on November 3.

“True, we have fought each other in the past but there’s a necessity to fight together now,” former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah said at the press conference. “This will be a foundation for the (2019) Lok Sabha polls,” he said.  Deve Gowda, his one-time mentor, piped in: “We are starting afresh.”

The bypolls are for three Lok Sabha seats—Bellary, Shimoga and Mandya—vacated by B. Sreeramulu, B.S. Yeddyurappa (both BJP) and C.S. Puttaraju (a state minister from the JD-S) when they became MLAs in May. The rem­aining two bypolls are for assembly constituencies that have fallen...

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