JD(S) to contest assembly bypolls in Karnataka, announces candidate for one seat

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Bengaluru, Mar 18 (PTI) Ending confusion, JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy on Thursday made it clear his party will contest April 17 bypolls to two assembly segments in Karnataka on its own and declared the candidate for Basavakalyan seat.

However, there seems to be no clarity yet about contesting Belgaum Lok Sabha byelection, with the former chief minister saying it will be decide in a couple of days.

JD(S) announced a Muslim candidate for Basavakalyan, seen as a move by the party to re-project its secular credentials, amid talks of its growing closeness to the BJP.

'We have decided to filed candidates for Basavakalyan and Maski assembly constituency.....there is no question of any internal or outward understanding with any party in this polls,' Kumaraswamy said.

Speaking to reporters after meeting JD(S) office bearers and leaders from both constituencies, he said, the party has taken the assembly bypolls seriously and will fight for victory.

'In Basavakalyan, after consulting our people it has been decided to field Syed Yasrab Ali Quadri - he's descendant of Basavakalyan's famous Hazrat Shah Dada Karar dargah. He was with the Congress for 15 years. He has ties with all sections of society,' Kumaraswamy said.

For Maski, the candidate will be decided by Friday, he said, adding a decision on contesting Belgaum Lok Sabha seat would be taken in a couple of days after consulting local party leaders.

The bypolls will be held on April 17 and the counting of votes is slated for May 2.

By-elections to Belgaum Lok Sabha and Basavakalyan assembly seats have been necessitated by the death of Union Minister Suresh Angadi of the BJP and MLA B Narayan Rao of Congress respectively due to COVID-19 in September last year.

Maski seat fell vacant following the disqualification of MLA Prathapagouda Patil, who had won in 2018 on a Congress ticket and is now with the BJP.

Some amount of confusion had persisted about JD(S) contesting the bypolls with patriarch H D Deve Gowda stating that the party will not contest by-elections citing financial constraints while Kumaraswamy maintained it will field candidates.

Responding to a question about it, Kumaraswamy said Gowda had earlier said the party had not yet decided on fielding candidates for the bypolls. But later at a party meeting, with his permission it was decided to contest.

The JD(S) leader also noted that Raichur under which Maski constituency comes, is an extremely potential district for the party, and out of the seven assembly seats there, it can win 5-6 in the next assembly elections. PTI KSU VS VS