Jamkhandi: Two former rebels could play a key role in deciding the fate of the Congress and BJP in the November 3 Jamkhandi Assembly bypoll.
While in previous elections, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sangamesh Nirani and Congress’s Shrishail Dalawai, had defied their party line and contested as independents, the present bypoll is seeing them sweat it out till the last day of campaigning to mobilise support for their official candidates.
Mr Nirani had cost the BJP the seat by winning nearly 25,000 votes as an independent from the constituency in the May Assembly election. But this time, persuaded to back BJP candidate, Shrikant Kulkarni, he is claiming victory for him by a margin of four to five thousand votes. “My brother, Murugesh Nirani and Mudhol MLA, Govind Karajol have actively campaigned in Jamkhandi unlike the previous election when they were busy in their respective constituencies. Mr Karajol has made great effort to woo the Dalits. Moreover, I am not contesting as a rebel this time. All this will see the BJP candidate win the byelection, albeit by a slender margin, as some of the voters loyal to me may vote for the Congress,” says Mr Sangamesh Nirani.
Meanwhile, with Mr Dalawai, a close confidant of former Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah, and a Kuruba, working to woo his community for the Congress, the party’s chances too seem bright this bypoll. Having netted nearly 20,000 votes as an independent in the last election, his support could prove invaluable to the party.
On the eve of the bypoll on Friday, both Mr Nirani and Mr Dalawai were busy holding meetings with the leaders of all communities to make a last attempt to win them over to their sides....