×
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Cardiologist sends Congress hearts racing in Bangalore Rural

Suresh, the rustic brother of Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar, is seeking re-election for a fourth consecutive term. Cardiologist Dr Manjunath, BJP's candidate, is the son-in-law of party supremo H D Deve Gowda, who has fought bitter poll battles against Congress, especially Shivakumar.
harath Joshi
Last Updated : 23 April 2024, 01:25 IST
Last Updated : 23 April 2024, 01:25 IST

Follow Us :

Comments

Manning his lonely shop facing the historical Aprameya Swamy temple near Channapatna, septuagenarian Rangappa is a confused voter. He must choose between the familiar and the relatable. 

On one side is D K Suresh, the Congress’ three-time MP who is accessible when needed.

Against him is BJP’s Dr C N Manjunath, the cardiologist who performed a crucial heart surgery on Rangappa’s daughter. “It’s a close fight,” is all he can say. 

“Suresh is genuine. He works likes a panchayat member,” Shivu, an agriculturist in Magadi, notes. “But look, there’s not even a CT scan facility in our taluk.” Another confused voter. 

Many like them will head to their polling booths on April 26 with this bewilderment, making it a down-to-the-wire competition in Bangalore Rural, the largely agrarian constituency with sprinkles of urban life, whose election is being billed as unpredictable. 

Suresh, the rustic brother of Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar, is seeking re-election for a fourth consecutive term. His brother’s victory can make it to Shivakumar’s repertoire when time comes for him to claim the CM’s chair.

Dr Manjunath is giving the BJP its best chance to win a constituency it had neglected.

And, for the JD(S), Dr Manjunath is the son-in-law of party supremo H D Deve Gowda, who has fought bitter poll battles against Congress, especially Shivakumar. 

In 2019, Suresh braved the Modi wave to become the sole Congress candidate to win in Karnataka.

Then, Congress and JD(S) were together. Suresh bagged 8.78 lakh votes against 6.71 lakh of the BJP.

This time, the BJP and JD(S) together have an arithmetic that has spooked the DK brothers. 

“If it wasn’t for Dr Manjunath, this was Suresh’s election to win easily,” Ramesh Akkur, a local journalist, says. 

Broadly, Suresh is employing three tactics to win his fight. Local JD(S) leaders are being aggressively poached to prevent the transfer of votes to BJP.

Next, Suresh is asking voters to choose between him and an immigrant: “Dr Manjunath is from Hassan, whereas I’m like your son.” 

Then, Suresh’s team is openly promising people that Shivakumar will become the next CM in an attempt to consolidate Vokkaligas, who are estimated to have 8-10 lakh votes in the constituency. 

Add to this Congress’ guarantees, whose beneficiaries, especially women, are being asked to vote in exchange for continuation of the schemes. 

Having taken the poll plunge reluctantly, Dr Manjunath, also a Vokkaliga, is credited with having made heart care affordable for the poor during his 18-year stint at the state-run Sri Jayadeva Institute.

There are tales of how he gave huge discounts on surgeries for poor patients, especially from Ramanagar. He is literally trying to win all those hearts he operated upon. 

PM Modi’s appeal and the presence of JD(S) across the constituency are adding to Dr Manjunath’s campaign strength. “The next union health minister,” is how Dr Manjunath is being projected by BJP and JD(S) cadre who are seen working together. 

All the poll trappings aside, the Bangalore Rural election is being fought in the Assemblies. Of the eight Assembly segments here, the Congress holds five, BJP two and JD(S) one. 

BJP’s C P Yogeshwar (Channapatna), Munirathna (Raja Rajeshwarinagar) and Tulsi Muniraju Gowda want to settle scores with Shivakumar, their arch-rival.  

Except Kanakapura, Shivakumar’s fief, the fight is on everywhere else. 

In BJP-ruled Raja Rajeshwarinagar and Bangalore South, where Suresh did not get a lead in 2019, Shivakumar has stepped in to fill the gap created by his brother’s lack of urban appeal.

Defeated Raja Rajeshwarinagar MLA candidate Kusuma Hanumantharayappa has been deployed to win over women. In Congress-held Kunigal, warring brothers D Krishnakumar (BJP) and Dr Ravi Nagarajaiah (JDS) have come together. The BJP is enthused at Magadi, another Congress segment.

In this toss-up between a cardiologist and a seasoned politician, that one of them will be left heartbroken is certain. 

ADVERTISEMENT
Published 23 April 2024, 01:25 IST

Follow us on :

Follow Us

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT