Ballari: A major battle is brewing at the Lok Sabha for the by-election seat from the Ballari Parliamentary constituency with both BJP and Congress vehemently backing up their nominees. 

The BJP amped up their game for the Ballari by-election campaign by bringing in state leaders such as Shobha Karandlaje, CT Ravi, V Somanna and Basavaraj Bommai to encourage local autocrat Sriramulu to ensure a win for his sister J Shantha.

Ugrappa, the Congress candidate, is being supported and campaigned for in the district by senior Congress leaders, including DK Shivakumar, Krishna Byre Gowda, Priyank Kharge and former chief minister Siddaramaiah. 

On Monday, Congress held a rally in Hampasagara, which was headed by Siddaramaiah, who also lofted a poignant attack on Sriramulu, who was defeated by him in the Assembly election earlier this year. Also, DK Shivakumar, district minister in-charge of Ballari, visited a jean and trouser production unit in Millerpet and engaged in a door-to-door campaign for Ugrappa. Priyank Kharge, social welfare minister stated that when there are 100 resources that can be utilised, the party must definitely use it. It is not only specific to Ballari.

BJP leader Shobha Karandlaje has also started campaigning in the district on Thursday. Soon after, she addressed a meeting in Hosapete. Meanwhile, Sriramulu is indulged in road shows and rallies in the district. 

The Jarkiholi brothers – Ramesh and Satish - refused to share the stage with Shivakumar at a rally in Kudligi on Wednesday. The Congress leaders did try to tone down the tension.

While BJP is counting on the strong grassroots presence of Sriramulu, from the Valmiki community and a popular face in Ballari, the Congress will require Shivakumar and the Jarkiholi brothers to get to the same page. 

Sriramulu vacated his MP seat after he was elected as MLA of Molakalmuru constituency. His closeness to and former BJP minister Janardhana Reddy is seen as a sign of power by residents of the district, say party sources.
Congress sources say that the fact that Ugrappa is an outsider may fight against him and the party will have to come up with a way to convince voters.