Bypolls are semifinals for Lok Sabha polls in 2019: Kumaraswamy

Madhu Bangarappa is JDS-Congress candidate for Shimoga LS constituency

Kumaraswamy Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy

The upcoming bypolls to three Parliament seats and two Assembly seats in Karnataka are like semi-finals to the 2019 Lok Sabha  bypolls, said Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Monday. Announcing Madhu Bangarappa as the consensus candidate of the JDS and the Congress party to contest from the Shimoga parliament constituency, Kumaraswamy asserted that the bypoll outcome would silence the BJP and critics of the coalition government stating it was an "unholy alliance". 

"After the formation of the coalition government, this is the first bypolls. I consider it a semi-finals for the Lok Sabha polls in 2019. The BJP has used harsh words, called it an unholy alliance, but this will be decided by the people. People's verdict is final in a democracy," said Kumaraswamy.  

The chief minister elaborated on how none of the political parties wanted the Lok Sabha bypolls and said, "Even BJP leaders have opposed the bypolls. But the Election Commission of India has announced polls and we are compelled to field candidates. After discussions with Congress leaders, decision on who should field candidates from every constituency was decided. A joint decosion was taken to field JDS candidates from Mandya and Shimoga."

Kumaraswamy expressed his gratitude to Congress leaders for allowing the JDS to contest from Shimoga seat. "I was disappointed Madhu Bangarappa had lost the Assembly polls from Soraba (Shimoga) and could not be inducted into my cabinet. This is god's will. Both parties feel Madhu is a capable candidate," said Kumaraswamy. 

Shimoga will witness a fierce battle as the sons of former chief ministers—late S. Bangarappa and B. S. Yeddyurappa—are pitted against each other. "I consider Madhu my younger brother. This bypoll will help prepare ground for the next battle.  And I am confident that the people, too, will support Madhu." 

Calling upon the party workers of both parties, Kumaraswamy, admitted that in the Old Mysore region, personal conflicts had taken place during the Assembly polls. "Keeping in mind the larger good of the country, both the JDS and the Congress should bury the differences and fight unitedly. The party workers of both the parties should work hard to ensure the victory of the allies in all five bypolls," urged Kumaraswamy.    

Defending his wife Anita Kumaraswamy's candidature, the chief minister said that it was not his decision, but a promise made to the party workers prior to the Assembly polls. "The partymen had insisted that only a family member should contest the bypolls, when I decided to contest from two seats (Channapatna and Ramanagara). I have always filed the nomination but never sought votes since 2008. I have won both the Lok Sabha and Assembly (elections). That is the confidence I have about party workers and voters there."

Hitting back at the BJP, Kumaraswamy hoped that the bypoll results should silence the saffron party. "After the bypolls, the BJP will hopefully give up its futile attempts to destabilise the government. They have given a Deepavali deadline," he said. 

Madhu Bangarappa, who will file his nomination on October 15, thanked Congress leaders for exuding confidence in his candidature. "I thank Congress leaders. I agreed to contest because of the confidence HDK and DKS have in me. This will also further strengthen the coalition. It is my good fortune that both parties have chosen me. My father had  lost his last elections. And I hope I can make up for it by wining this time," said Madhu, who had lost the Assembly polls in May.