The Nanjangud by-elections will be the first litmus test for Congress in Karnataka as their governing rule comes to an end.
A small town of Mysore, Nanjangud will now turn out to be a battleground of revenge, quite literally for both the national parties in the upcoming by-elections.
The Nanjangud seat fell vacant after the resignation of veteran Congress leader V Srinivas Prasad in December 2016. The leader was miffed with the Congress after he was dropped from the Sidddaramaiah cabinet. He went on to resign as a member of the Legislative Assembly.
Not only has it become a prestige issue for the Congress and the BJP, but results of the election is expected to show who has better reach amongst the voters.Karnataka's Chief Minister Siddaramaiah or former minister of the Siddaramaiah government Srinivas Prasad who left the Congress, somewhat annoyed by the alleged oppressive behaviour of the CM and the fact that he was unceremoniously dropped from the cabinet.
Prasad was the revenue minister and without even informing him, Siddaramaiah dropped him from the cabinet. Srinivas Prasad had mentioned this several times saying that the CM did not even have the courtesy to mention that he was being removed from an important post. In Siddaramaiah' defence, sources said that Prasad could not handle the revenue portfolio effectively due to his deteriorating health.
The Nanjangud seat fell vacant when veteran congressman and once a close confidante of Siddaramaiah V Srinivas Prasad joined the BJP.
For the chief minister this is a pure test of strength just as he faced in 2006 during he Chamundeshwari bye-elections that took place in 2006, where Siddaramaiah won by a thin margin of just 257 votes.
The BJP is hoping to make an impact as Prasad is expected to consolidate the Dalit voters as they constitute close to 30 percent of the constituency. The BJP is not only aggressively campaigning with the leader in Karnataka B S Yeddyurappa backing Srinivas Prasad, the saffron party that is heavily backed by the Lingayats hopes to create a new combination of getting the Dalit voters majority in their favour, which may yield a new formula that they could replicate in the state during the 2018 elections.
Srinivas Prasad has faced many hurdles and many of the Dalit vote bank are unhappy with his association with the BJP.