With polls ending for all 28 Lok Sabha constituencies in Karnataka, Congress and BJP turned their focus on Thursday on finalising candidates for Chincholi and Kundgol assembly constituencies for the May 19 by-elections. BJP held its core committee meeting under the leadership of state chief BS Yeddyurappa to finalise its candidates for both the assembly segments.

Pradesh Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao too held meetings to discuss the preparations for the by-election and selection of candidates. Congress and JD(S) have decided to go to polls together by fielding a consensus candidate from the grand old party, as both seats were held by it.

The outcome of by-polls along with Lok Sabha results is crucial for the ruling Congress-JD(S) alliance as it would have a bearing on the longevity of the coalition government, triggering the number game in the assembly.

By-poll to Chincholi was necessitated as Umesh Jadhav quit as Congress MLA and joined the BJP to contest Lok Sabha polls from Gulbarga, while Kundgol seat fell vacant following the death of MLA and Minister C S Shivalli.

The last date to file nomination is on April 29.

Speaking to reporters after the core committee meeting Yeddyurappa said, “We have recommended one name each for both the constituencies to Delhi (party central leadership) after discussion. It will be finalized tomorrow and from Delhi the candidates will be announced. We will win both the seats and we are making all preparations.”

“We also discussed prospects of Lok Sabha polls. According to our leaders and feedback received from various places we will win minimum 22 seats (out of 28). We have that confidence. We may win even more,” he added.

According to top BJP sources, names of former MLA Chikkangoudra Siddangouda Ishwargoud and Ramachandra Jadhav have been recommended by the state BJP to high command for Kundgol and Chincholi assembly constituencies’ respectively.

While Chikkangoudra Siddangouda Ishwargoud had lost to Shivalli from Kundgol in 2018 assembly polls, Ramachandra Jadhav is the brother of Umesh Jadhav.

Congress too is expected to finalise its candidates for Kundgol and Chincholi seats by Friday.

“We will decide tomorrow on whom to field, after discussing with our high command, general secretary and Mallikarjun Kharge (Congress leader in Lok Sabha),” KPCC chief Dinesh Gundu Rao told reporters after meeting party leaders from both the constituencies.

“There are many aspirants, there is enthusiasm in both places, which we held, and all are united to retain it. All of us will fight together and we will strategise accordingly. We will win both seats,” he said, adding JD(S) has extended support to Congress in both constituencies.

According to Congress sources, several party leaders were keen on fielding Shivalli’s widow Kusuma from Kundgol, while Baburao Chavan and Subash Rathod are front runners in Chincholi.

Both seats would go for by-polls on May 19 and results would be declared on May 23 along with Lok Sabha poll results.