Most of the important contestants filed their nomination papers on the last day for filing nomination papers on Monday, in the three seats that go to the bypolls in Belagavi district. Gokak witnessed high voltage rallies taken out by the Jarkiholi brothers who filed their nomination papers as opponents representing different political parties. While disqualified MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi filed nomination papers as a BJP candidate, his younger brother Lakhan Jarkiholi submitted his papers on Congress ticket.
Ramesh Jarkiholi reiterated that he had not quit the Congress for money or power. He said that he was upset with the arrogant attitude of Siddaramaiah, the interference by D.K. Shivakumar in the political affairs of the district and the preference given to newbie Lakshmi Hebbalkar over his seniority and decided to join the BJP.
Satish Jarkiholi, who joined the rally to support Lakhan Jarkiholi, said that he had chosen a tiger to hunt a tiger. “Such a big task cannot be accomplished by dogs or jackals,” he said, while defending the choice of his brother to fight the bypolls as Congress candidate from Gokak.
The Returning Officer asked Lakhan Jarkiholi to file another set of nomination papers after a staff member noticed a mistake in his application. He waited for an hour before his lawyers prepared a fresh set of papers. Satish Jarkiholi filed his nomination papers as a dummy candidate. He said that this was a routine process to help the party retain its representation in the fray in case there was some serious problem with the official candidate’s nomination papers.
Ashok Pujari, who lost two elections — once as a Janata Dal(S) nominee and then as a BJP candidate — returned to file his nomination papers as a Janata Dal(S) nominee on Monday. He said that he could not take the humiliation in the BJP camp.
Deputy Chief Minister Lakshman Savadi was present when disqualified MLA Mahesh Kumthalli filed his nomination papers in Athani. Trader Gajanan Mangasuli, a new entrant into politics, filed his nomination papers as Congress candidate.
Gajanan Mangasuli fell at the feet of Mr. Savadi and Mr. Kumthalli and sought their blessings when they met as he was coming out of the Returning Officer’s chamber. Upset with his party welcoming Raju Kage, Congress leader and former MLA Shahajahan Dongargaon filed nomination papers on Saturday itself. He has called for a meeting of his supporters on Tuesday to decide on withdrawing from the contest.
Raju Kage, who quit the BJP to join the Congress three days ago, filed his nomination papers as a Congress candidate from Kagwad. Srimanth Patil, who was disqualified for not attending the Vote of Confidence called by the Congress-Janata Dal(S) coalition government, filed his nomination papers as a BJP candidate.
The Janata Dal(S) which had not announced candidates for the three seats till Monday succeeded in fielding nominees in all the seats. While Ashok Pujari entered the hustings in Gokak, Guru Dashal filed his nomination papers as the party candidate in Athani. Sreeshail Toogushetty joined the list of candidates filing their nomination papers from Kagwad.