It's a proxy war between Siddu, BSY in Shikaripur

It's a proxy war between Siddu, BSY in Shikaripur

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa may not be in the fray for the byelection to the Shikaripur Assembly constituency on August 21. But pride and prestige are at stake for both the stalwarts.

For Yeddyurappa, the victory of his son B Y Raghavendra, the BJP candidate, is essential to retain his hold in the taluk. Siddaramaiah would look to strengthen his position in the party if Congress candidate H S Shantaveerappa Gouda wrests the seat from the BJP.

Congress leaders are of the view that they cannot get a better opportunity than this to regain the hold in Shikaripur, considered Yeddyurappa’s forte, given that their party is in power in the State.

Another plus for the Congress is that there does not seem to be dissidence among the party workers, something that is generally seen during elections. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, KPCC president G Parameshwara and a few ministers campaigned extensively in various parts of the constituency for two days recently. A team of ministers led by H C Mahadevappa, a close associate of the chief minister, is camping in Shikaripur for the past two weeks.

The support of JD(S) to Congress seems to have strengthened the ruling party in the constituency. In the last Assembly polls in 2013, Yeddyurappa had secured 69,126 votes as KJP candidate, Shantaveerappa Gouda of Congress, who is in the fray this time also, had managed to get 44,702 votes and the then JD(S) candidate H T Baligar had obtained 15,004 votes.

The victory margin of Yeddyurappa was 24,424 votes. It remains to be seen whether Baligar will be able to transfer the votes of his followers to Congress. If he succeeds, Congress stands a chance of emerging victorious. But it’s an open secret that defeating BJP in the home turf of Yeddyurappa is an uphill task. Besides, the ruling party leaders do not have a strong network in the constituency like the former chief minister.

A keen contest is in the offing between Congress and BJP and it’s certainly not a cakewalk for BJP.
Shikaripur is going for a bypoll for the first time and voters are aware that the outcome will not make any huge impact on the government. They have sent Yeddyurappa to the Assembly seven times. Now, his son Raghavendra is in the fray.

It will be interesting to see whether voters’ loyalty to Yeddyurappa will continue or not. Going by caste equations, both candidates belong to Veerashaiva community, a dominant one in the constituency. The votes of the community are likely to be divided between the two.

The Congress is banking on the support of backward classes and minorities.
Siddaramaiah and the other ministers, during the election rally held recently, had asked minorities not to back BJP under any circumstance as Yeddyurappa had opposed Shaadi Bhagya scheme, under which poor Muslim girls will get Rs 50,000 each as marriage assistance.

They are also banking on populist schemes like Anna Bhagya launched by the government.
The BJP is relying on the development works implemented in the taluk during the tenure of Yeddyurappa as chief minister.

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