Hubballi: The byelection to the Legislative Council from the local bodies of Vijayapura and Bagalkote has become a matter of prestige for both Mr M B Patil of the Congress and Mr Basanagouda Patil Yatnal of the BJP.
Scheduled for September 6, the bypoll will see a direct fight between the Congress and BJP as the JD(S) is backing its coalition partner. While the Congress has fielded Mr M B Patil’s younger brother , Sunilgouda Patil, the BJP has pitted a loyalist of Mr Yatnal and city municipal corporation councillor, Gulappa Shetagar against him.
Mr M B Patil is banking on his brother winning the bypoll to showcase his influence in the region and get back at those who have sidelined him in the party for spearheading the movement for separate religion status for the Lingayats, which boomeranged on it. He believes it will also brighten his chances of joining the present Cabinet. For Mr Yatnal winning the bypoll is important to demonstrate that he still holds sway in the region as it was his resignation as MLC following his election to the legislative assembly from Vijayapur that has led to it.
Having suffered a setback as candidates loyal to him have lost the mayoral and deputy mayoral elections of the Vijayapur City Corporation, he is hoping Mr Shetagar's win will bolster his political reputation. But with the councilor being popular only in Vijayapura, he could have a hard time securing the support of local body members of Bagalkote district when the Congress and JD(S) have forged an alliance for the election.
Mr Yatnal had won the council seat as a rebel in 2015 after the BJP refused to give him the ticket. But he managed to return to the party with the support of state BJP chief, B S Yeddyurappa.