Hubballi: Congress leaders are hoping to retain the Kundgol Assembly seat and attribute the record voter turnout of 82.42% to the large number of women exercising their franchise in favour of party candidate Kusumavati Shivalli.
At the same time, BJP leaders claim that 90 percent of the 8,000 first-time voters have favoured their party due to the Modi wave and attribute the highest voting percentage to the fact that more youth turned up to vote this time.
But political analysts feel brisk polling happened owing to the absence of agriculture activity following the drought! They claimed that more voters converged at polling booths as people in rural areas are now jobless.
Of the total 1,89,437 voters, 1,56,128 exercised their franchise in Sunday’s byelection with higher voting reported in rural areas. The Congress leaders feel that the candidate, who secures nearly half of the total votes polled, will emerge victorious. They are also confident that the party candidate Kusumavati Shivalli will get more than 70,000 votes against 65,000 votes secured by the party in the last election. They claimed the sympathy factor and the developmental projects undertaken by the late minister C.S. Shivalli have worked for the party.
"We are confident of retaining the seat by a margin of 5,000 to 6,000 votes. We got overwhelming support from women voters as we had put in a lot of effort to approach them. We are expecting a good lead in villages coming under Hubballi and Kundgol taluks. Moreover, JD(S) leaders have backed us in the byelection and this will increase the victory margin compared to the 634 vote lead in the last election", said Kundagol taluk block Congress president Jagadish Uppin.
Meanwhile, BJP candidate S.I. Chikkanagoudar claimed that he will win by at least 12,000 votes and is hoping to get a 2,000 vote lead in each of the six Zilla Panchayat seats coming under the constituency. Denying any sympathy wave in favour of the Congress, he said that he had managed to bring more than Rs 700 crore funds for the development of the constituency when the BJP was in power in the state. He also claimed that the rebel factor in the Congress has worked against that party. "At least 7,000 new voters have supported the BJP", the former MLA said.