Karnataka went into by-election mode, Belagavi Lok Sabha seat, Basavakalyan and Maski for assembly seats. There were Covid-19 protocols issued by the election commission given the spike in COVID cases in Karnataka & India as a whole. Masaki constituency had the highest turnover of 70.48 percentage, followed by Basavakalyan at 59.57 per cent and Belagavi at the bottom with 54.61 per cent. Basavakalyan had 12 candidates while Belagavi and Maski had 10 and 8, respectively. Fears of the COVID second wave was ostensible in the lower turnout in two of the three by-polls.
Going All Out To Win
The deaths of Union Minister Suresh Angadi and MLA B Narayan Rao last year due to Covid-19 necessitated the by-polls for the Belgaum Lok Sabha and Basavakalyan Assembly seats. MLA Prathapagouda Patil's defection to the BJP and the consequential disqualification was the reason for the Maski by-poll. For the Belgaum Lok Sabha seat, the Congress has fielded Satish Jarkiholi, an MLA from the Yamkanmaradi assembly constituency, against BJP's Mangala Suresh Angadi (wife of late Suresh Angadi). Mallamma, the wife of late legislator B Narayan Rao, was running against BJP youth leader Sharanu Salagar in Basavakalyan. Mallikarjun Khuba, a former BJP rebel, was running as an Independent candidate. In this by-election, the Janata Dal (Secular) has fielded Syed Yasrab Ali Quadri from the Basavakalyan assembly constituency. In Maski, Prathapagouda Patil, was nominated by BJP.
Small Boycotts & High Stakes
By-polls always hold huge weightage for the ruling dispensation, and it gives an on the ground vibe of people and their approval/disapproval of the ruling government. These by-polls will also hold similar importance. It was not a surprise that all stakeholders made great efforts to show their strength during the campaign rallies. Voters in Hire Tadasi and Chikka Tadasi villages boycotted the polls in protest of the delay in releasing compensation to farmers who were flooded in 2019 and 2020 reported The Hindu. Due to the government's inability to assist weavers in the lockdown, a few voters from Belagavi, Belagavi rural, and Ramdurg boycotted the polls as well. COVID safety protocols were strictly implemented, and the by-polls went peacefully at all three constituencies. The results are expected to be announced on May 2, 2021.