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Karnataka Council polls: NDA banks on combined arithmetic, Congress pins hope on OPS promise

Incumbent MLC and NDA candidate S L Bhoje Gowda is seeking re-election and K K Manjunath, who had unsuccessfully contested polls earlier as an independent, is the Congress nominee now.
Last Updated : 29 May 2024, 01:52 IST
Last Updated : 29 May 2024, 01:52 IST

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The south west teachers’ constituency comprising Shivamogga, Chikkamagaluru, Kodagu, Udupi, Dakshina Kannada districts and Honnali, Nyamati and Channagiri taluks of Davangere district has faced six legislative Council polls so far since 1988.

Of them, BJP won four times, JD(S) and an independent candidate emerged victorious once each. 

Incumbent MLC and NDA candidate S L Bhoje Gowda is seeking re-election and K K Manjunath, who had unsuccessfully contested polls earlier as an independent, is the Congress nominee now.

Speaking to DH, veteran BJP leader and former MLC R K Siddaramanna recalled that Ganesh Karnik of BJP had represented this constituency twice (2006-2012 and 2012-2018) and he was defeated in the previous polls. 

Prior to this, Balakrishna Bhat of BJP had represented the constituency twice. “We are confident that Bhoje Gowda will win,” he said.  

Congress candidate Manjunath charged that Bhoje Gowda had failed to address the issues dogging teachers over the last six years.

Teachers serving in aided educational institutions are literally struggling to lead their retirement lives as they don’t get pension now.

The Kumaraswamy-led government stopped the pension facility in 2006. They are aware that the Congress-led government in Karnataka will re-introduce the old pension scheme (OPS) and implement the recommendations of the 7th pay commission. “So, I am confident of winning this time,” he said. 

Bhoje Gowda told DH that he was sure to get re-elected as the BJP was supporting him this time round. 

“I had secured over 6,000 votes in the previous elections, while BJP managed to get 5,000 votes. Now, there is no BJP candidate. So the combined votes of BJP and JD(S) has brightened my prospects,” he said. 

On the old pension scheme, he said Siddaramaiah had promised to implement it within a month of coming to power, but did not fulfil it.

“Now, it is more than a year since he became chief minister. But it has not been implemented. What was the need to constitute a panel to study it? If it had the will, the government would have withdrawn the new pension scheme and restored the old scheme by now,” Gowda said.   

Regarding the Prajwal Revanna sexual abuse case, he said public memory was short and it would not make any impact on this election. 

Congress nominee Manjunath said the party had not taken this election seriously in the past. But this time, it has actively involved itself in all stages of the election as it needs a majority in the Council to get new laws passed. So, the Congress will emerge victorious this time, he said. 

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Published 29 May 2024, 01:52 IST

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