Kodagu district, part of the Mysore-Kodagu constituency, maybe the BJP's forte. But it will be up against the combined strength of the coalition partners - Congress and JD(S).
Sitting Lok Sabha member Pratap Simha may need to sweat it out to get a substantial lead from Kodagu to retain the seat for the second consecutive term.
Banking on the strong presence of BJP in southern Kodagu, Simha has been carrying out extensive campaigns for the past few days.
Kodagu had once been the bastion of the Congress. But the picture changed after M P Appacchu Ranjan and K G Bopaiah entered the political arena. Congress or JD(S) candidates have not won Assembly elections in the district for the last several years. Appacchu Ranjan won Assembly elections in 1994, 1999, 2008, 2013 and 2018, while Bopaiah has won in 2004, 2008, 2013 and 2018.
Appacchu Ranjan’s brother M P Sunil Subramani, a BJP leader, is a member of Legislative Council. BJP is in power in zilla panchayat and taluk panchayats as well.
The strong presence of BJP in Kodagu will, no doubt, be a big advantage for Simha. But he will have a tough challenge from former MP C H Vijayashankar, tipped to be the Congress candidate.
Vijayashankar has managed to build a good rapport with senior leaders of the Congress from Kodagu district. He is trying to establish his identity as the son-in-law of the region. MLC Veena Acchaiah is the lone elected representative of the Congress from Kodagu.
The Congress and JD(S) have been successful in the recent town panchayat elections in Virajpet, Somwarpet and Kushalnagar.
Kodagu district Congress committee president K K Manjunath said that the vote base of the coalition partners would be beneficial for the candidate. Coalition candidate Vijayashankar has fought for the rights of farmers. The party has been strengthened at the grassroots level in Kodagu, he said.