Will Bopaiah achieve hat trick in Virajpet?

Will Bopaiah achieve hat trick in Virajpet?

K G Bopaiah

The BJP, which won Virajpet constituency for two consecutive terms by defeating the Congress, is facing dissidence in the party. The Congress and the JD(S) are planning to take benefit of it in the constituency.

The BJP candidate and sitting MLA K G Bopaiah, a close confidant of former CM and BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa, who received a ticket to contest at the last minute, has been engaged in rigorous campaigning without much hype. He has been visiting the villages, thereby strengthening the party base. On the other hand, both the JD(S) and the Congress are standing on their toes to encash the dissidence in the BJP.

Though there are several issues bothering Virajpet constituency, they have not become a poll issue during the upcoming Assembly election. The religion, caste and Tipu Jayanthi issues have been highlighted and have become a weapon for the campaign. Promises and assurances are restricted to handbills only.

On the other hand, the BJP has a strong belief in its traditional votes and are confident that such votes will not be divided. The BJP feels that the ‘Modi wave’ is a plus point.

Barring a BJP convention under the leadership of state BJP president B S Yeddyurappa, union minister D V Sadananda Gowda and MP Shobha Karandlaje, no other conventions have been organised in the district to attract the voters.

To win a hat-trick, K G Bopaiah is working hard and is trying to take the Kodava and Arebhashe voters into confidence. Bopaiah belongs to the Arebhashe Gowda community. There was a demand for issuing a ticket to a Kodava candidate. To ensure that votes do not divide, Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda had convened a secret meeting at Gonikoppa as well to sort out the differences.

In 2013, there was a direct fight between the Congress and the BJP. Bopaiah won by a margin of 3,414 votes. H D Basavaraj, who won from the BJP ticket when the constituency was reserved, is now an MEP candidate. In spite of it, the speculations are rife over who will win the election.

On the other hand, the Congress candidate Arun Machaiah is into an intensive campaign in the constituency. Arun Machaiah has a strong control in Gonikoppa, Ponnampete, Srimangala and Kutta region.

The Congress is trying to garner the anti-MLA votes. AICC president Rahul Gandhi, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, opposition leader in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjuna Kharge, carried out a campaign in the constituency.

Even JD(S) has also developed a base in the Virajpet constituency this time. JD(S) state president H D Kumaraswamy has already carried out one round of campaign for their candidate Sanketh Poovaiah in the constituency. Sanketh has promised to waive off the loans borrowed by coffee growers and has also raised the issue of the elephant-man conflict.

At the outset, there is a direct fight between the BJP and the Congress. Will Bopaiah achieve a hat-trick or will the voters vote for a change in the constituency, is the question.

Total voters: 2,16090
Male: 1,08,580

In 2013
K G Bopaiah (BJP): 67,250
B T Pradeep (Cong): 63,836