Contest between veteran, novice in Govindarajnagar


 That is because Minister V Somanna, a party hopper, is testing his electoral luck from this constituency.  Priya Krishna, the Congress’ candidate and a novice to politics, is giving Somanna no time to relax.

The by-poll has been necessitated after Somanna quit as Congress MLA and joined the ruling party.

Somanna is trying to become member of Assembly for the fifth time. For the 25-year-old Priya Krishna, however, it is his maiden effort.

The entire Congress party is backing its official candidate (and his wealthy real estate father, MLA M Krishnappa). So, it’s going to be Somanna vs Congress.

Somanna has a trump card up his sleeve: the development works he has done since his days as a corporator. He is highly vocal when it comes to speaking of the work he has done in Vijayanagar constituency, when he was MLA of Binnypet constituency. He is assuring the voters that he will continue with development work if he is re-elected.
Somanna’s advantage is that he is with the party in power. He also has an army of his own men, some of whom were corporators earlier .

The Congress’ main allegation against Somanna is that he is a party hopper, and that he went to the BJP only for power.

The Congress leaders are exhorting the people of the constituency to ‘teach a lesson’ to the defector.

The Congress, in a way is drawing support from the JD(S). Whether by design or otherwise, the JD(S) has remained silent after the nomination papers of its candidate was rejected at the time of scrutiny.

But JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda has given a call to his party workers to support a secular party candidate in the constituency. JD (S) leader T M Range Gowda, who finished second in the 2008 elections, is campaigning for Priya Krishna.

The constituency is dominated by Vokkaligas and Kurubas. Deve Gowda’s support to the Congress, and Congress leader Siddaramaiah’s campaign may lead to a division of votes on caste lines.

There are not more than a few thousand Lingayat voters in the constituency.
Dalits and minority communities make up a considerable share of the total votes.  If there is a polarisation of votes on caste basis, the BJP is bound to suffer.

For the BJP - and Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa in particular - this by-poll is matter of prestige.

The Congress, too is hoping for a win, which will serve as a morale booster for the party, which lost all eight seats in the previous by-polls.

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