The Election Commission on Tuesday had announced the schedule for the by-election to Sira assembly constituency in Tumakuru district and Rajarajeshwari Nagar (R R Nagar) in the city, for which the last date for filing of nomination is October 16. Results will be declared on November 10.
The by-election had been necessitated in Sira following the death of sitting MLA B Sathyanarayana of JD(S) last month, while the R R Nagar seat fell vacant following the disqualification of Congress MLA N Munirathna under the anti-defection law last year.
The Congress and JD(S) are traditional rivals in Sira, which the BJP has never won.
Congress has finalised former Minister T B Jayachandra, who had represented the constituency twice in 2008 and 2013, and was defeated by late Sathyanarayana (of JDS) in 2018, as the party candidate.
The JD(S) is yet to name its candidate.
According to some reports, Rajesh Gowda is said to have joined the party after the state unit recommended his name among the list of of probable candidates for Sira, to the high command.
Speaking to reporters after joining the party, Rajesh Gowda said he was joining the BJP to be its loyal worker and not as a ticket aspirant.
He said he will abide by the party decision on the ticket and will work for the victory of the candidate whomever the party names.
“I’m joining BJP in admiration of Narendra Modi (Prime Minister) and Yediyurappa’s (Chief Minister) leadership and for the development of Sira.
I have not joined the BJP to contest the by-election.If given an opportunity, I will contest the polls,” he added, as he rejected reports about approaching JD(S) earlier for ticket and stated that BJP was his first political party.
Kateel, who welcomed Rajesh Gowda and others to the party by handing over to them the party flag, said youths are getting attracted to the BJP after Narendra Modi became Prime Minister, and claimed the BJP today has become the world’s biggest political organisation.
He expressed confidence about BJP winning both Sira and R R Nagar assembly bypolls and elections to four MLC seats, as he compared the Congress to a sinking ship.
The BJP release quoted Kateel as saying that hundreds of public representatives from the Congress and JD(S) were willing to join BJP.
State BJP General Secretary Ravi Kumar said in the run-up to the bypolls, 264 booth committees and whatsapp groups have been activated in Sira to strengthen the organization there.
According to sources, Rajesh Gowda is the founder- director at Matrix Imaging Solutions, where former Chief Minister Siddaramaiahs son and Varuna Congress MLA Dr Yathindra was a director.
Yathindra had resigned as a director in 2016 following controversy after the company won the government tender to setup a diagnostic centre, when his father was CM.