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Will Kollegal Assembly bypoll spring a surprise?

Muralidhara Khajane

12, including eight Independent candidate, are in contest


Electorate of the segment have never re-elected a candidate who represented them earlier

The constituency registered 72.96 per cent of polling on August 18


Mysore: The fate of 12 candidates who contested in the byelection to the Kollegal (Reserved) Assembly Constituency would be known on Friday when counting of votes would be taken up.

Besides eight Independent candidates, S. Jayanna of Congress, G.N. Nanjundaswamy of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), S. Balaraj of Janata Dal (Secular), and Subhash Bharani of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) were in the fray.

The electorate of Kollegal Assembly constituency have never re-elected a candidate. It is significant that the candidates of all the three major political parties who contested the byelection here are former legislators and they have changed parties.

Mr. S. Jayanna, who had won in 1994 Assembly election from JD (S) lost the 2004 election. Despite being a staunch lieutenant of Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah, he did not get ticket to contest from the Kollegal Assembly and Chamarajanagar Lok Sabha segments during the recent elections. Finally, with the support of Mr. Siddaramaiah, he contested Kollegal Assembly byelection.

Mr. Nanjundaswamy had won the election from this constituency in 1999, as a Congress candidate. On being hinted that he might not be given the Congress ticket to contest from this constituency yet again, Mr. Nanjundaswamy joined the BJP in the run-up to 2008 election. However, the BJP did not give him the opportunity to contest Kollegal Assembly election.

But having remained in the party, his “sacrifice” seems to have yielded result as the BJP fielded him for the Kollegal Assembly bypoll and BJP leaders, including Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa campaigned for him.

JD (S) candidate S. Balaraj was the BJP candidate in 1999 and had contested as rebel BJP candidate in 2004 as ticket was denied to him because of the BJP alliance with JD (U). Though he identified with the JD (S) when JD (S) - BJP coalition government was formed, JD (S) denied him ticket in favour of A.R. Krishnamurthy. As both the Congress and BJP refused to accommodate him again he contested as an Independent candidate and lost. This time he is the candidate of the JD (S).

The former Indian Police Services (IPS) officer Subhash Bharani is the only new face among the candidates who contested from Kollegal Assembly constituency. Mr. Bharani who contested from T. Narsipur constituency as the BJP candidate in 2008 Assembly election and lost to Dr. H.C. Mahadevappa, is now contesting on the BSP ticket after deserting BJP in the run-up to the byelection.

The Kollegal Assembly constituency comprises Yelandur taluk, Santemarahalli hobli of Chamarajanagar taluk and two hoblis of Kollegal taluk. The constituency is known for springing surprises. Electorates have rejected candidates of all political parties in 2004 by electing S. Balaraj who contested as an Independent candidate.

History will be created in case of victory of either Mr. Jayanna or Mr. Nanjundaswamy or Mr. Balaraj. Likewise victory of BSP candidate Subhash Bharani would mean that the electorate once again chose not to re-elect a candidate who represented them earlier.

Congress workers and leaders are anxious because the constituency registered 72.96 per cent of voting. It is believed that lower voting percentage would help the Congress.

Meanwhile, the confidence level in the BJP camp has increased. JD (S) is also hopeful about its prospects like the BSP.

The result of the bypoll will be out on Friday by noon.

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