Hubballi: Congress leader M.B. Patil’s younger brother Sunilgouda Patil has won the byelection to the Legislative Council from Vijayapur-Bagalkot local bodies constituency by 2,040 votes. Of the total 8,111 votes polled, he secured 4,819 votes while BJP candidate Gulappa Shetagar got only 2,779 votes. The election had become a matter of prestige for ministerial aspirant M.B. Patil and BJP leader Basanagouda Patil Yatnal. The resignation of Yatnal as MLC necessitated the bypoll as he has been elected to the Legislative Assembly from Vijayapura.
The bypoll also saw the JD(S) extending support to the Congress. The victory of his brother will help M.B. Patil showcase his influence in the region and also improve the chances of his induction into the Cabinet. Source said that he has been exerting pressure on the Congress high command for a ministerial berth by threatening to revive the Lingayat religion status movement. This may pose a threat to Congress prospects when the party is gearing up for the Lok Sabha elections next year.
This is the second jolt for Yatnal after candidates loyal to him lost the mayor and deputy mayor elections in Vijayapura City Corporation recently. Speaking to media persons after the win, M.B. Patil said the result of the Council byelection is a pointer to the next Lok Sabha election. Yatnal had won the Council seat fighting as a rebel candidate in 2015 after the BJP refused to offer him a ticket. He managed to return to the BJP with the support of state president B.S. Yeddyurappa just before the previous Assembly elections.