Big Shimoga contest as ex-CMs' sons lock horns

Big Shimoga contest as ex-CMs' sons lock horns

B Y Raghavendra

Though BJP had the last laugh in the by-election in October last year, it was not a convincing victory. Madhu Bangarappa, nominee of coalition partners, had put up a brave fight despite his candidature being announced in the eleventh hour. So, the JD(S) nominee believes that he would win this time braving all odds, with the support of Congress party leaders, workers and followers of his father the late S Bangarappa, some in BJP also, as he has adequate time to reach out to voters this time.

Terming the by-election as preparatory examination, Madhu said he may not have passed the preparatory examinations. But he will come out with flying colours in the main examination - general elections as he has learnt from his mistakes.

Though JD(S) had no legislator in eight Assembly constituencies of Shivamogga Lok Sabha seat including Byndoor of Udupi district and Congress had one, he was able to put up a brave fight against BJP which had seven legislators in the byelection.

It has enhanced his confidence level. But the collective efforts from the leaders and workers of both the parties are much needed. There is dissidence within the Congress at the local level for ceding Shivamogga seat to JD(S). But Madhu is confident of addressing these issues.

The strong network of workers at the grassroots level, state BJP president B S Yeddyurappa’s hold in the district, the ‘Modi PM again’ appeal and the presence of seven legislators out of eight have put junior Yeddyurappa in an advantageous position.

The saffron party workers will leave no stone unturned to create an impression among voters that vote for JD(S) nominee will bring nothing for them as this is parliamentary elections and not Assembly polls.

Nevertheless, the JD(S) nominee is banking on his father Bangarappa’s popularity, the votes of Ediga community, which form a major chunk in the constituency, traditional voters of Congress, farm loan waiver and sanctioning of irrigation projects by the Kumaraswamy-led government in the district in the recent budget.

Going by the caste equations, Ediga community has the highest number of voters, followed by Lingayats, Muslims, SC/STs and other backward classes. So, BJP’s main focus is to garner the support of voters of all backward communities including Ediga and the coalition partners have the task of converting traditional supporters of Congress, backward classes, minorities into votes.

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy has made an emotional appeal to voters of the constituency to give his party one chance to become their representative in Lok Sabha without thinking on caste lines, during his recent visit to Shivamogga.

So, the speech is a clear indication that the coalition partners will leave no unturned to generate sympathy for their nominee as he lost the two polls consecutively (Assembly polls, by-election to Lok Sabha). So, the coalition partners might use ‘one chance’ as an appeal to garner the support of voters. A keen contest is on the cards. The constituency is likely to witness face-off between organised strength and individual clout.