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Congress-JD(S) combine takes big lead in Karnataka bypolls

Foes tuned friends to throw challenges to the BJP

Ballari.

Congress’ VS Ugrappa is leading over the BJP’s J Shantha on Tuesday by more than 184,000 votes in Ballari parliamentary seat after counting of votes for the thirteenth round.

ballari was among the five assembly and parliamentary seats in Karnataka where bypolls were held on November 3.

The by-election to this seat saw a pitched battle with both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the ruling Congress-Janata Dal(Secular) alliance going all out to capture the seat.

Bypolls took place following the resignation of BJP’s sitting Lok Sabha member B Sreeramulu after he won the assembly election from Molkalmuru in Chitradurga district.

Sreeramulu has much at stake in Ballari, which is reserved for the Scheduled Tribe communities.

The BJP fielded his sister Shantha, who is a former MP. She was up against member of the legislative council Ugrappa, who was backed by the JD(S).

The names of these two candidates appeared on the electronic voting machines but they have been proxies for the battles fought by other leaders.

Sreeramulu, on the one hand, has fought against Congress leader DK Shivakumar — who has been entrusted with winning the seat — and on the other, mining baron G Janardhan Reddy has fought an ugly battle with his bete noire, former chief minister Siddaramaiah.

The BJP banked on its local leaders to do the job and pointed to the fact that Ugrappa is an outsider to the district.

The Congress-JD(S) alliance pulled out all stops.One-time bitter rivals Siddaramaiah and the former PM HD Deve Gowda, united to try and prove that a broad coalition could defeat the BJP ahead of the 2019 elections.

The ruling Congress-JD(S) are ahead of the BJP in four out of five seats in early trends as votes are counted in a Karnataka by-election billed as a semi-final before Lok Sabha polls next year.

The by-elections to three Lok Sabha and two assembly seats are seen as a crucial test for the ruling alliance, forged after state elections in May this year to keep out single largest party BJP.

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