BJP looks to break father-son monopoly in Raichur

Raichur, known for sweltering heat, power generation and gold mines, is witnessing fight among five candidates for the Lok Sabha seat. There is a direct contest between the BJP and the Congress in this Scheduled Tribe (ST) reserved constituency where women voters outnumber men.

The BJP has pitted Raja Amareshwara Naik, an incorrigible party hopper,  belonging to royal family of Guragunta and Shorapur, against Congress’ sitting MP B V Naik. 

Political analysts term the Parliamentary poll as a battle between Naiks. BJP MLA from Devadurga Shivangouda Naik, a nephew of Venkatesh Naik, is attempting to settle scores with B V Naik as the latter defeated the former by a narrow margin of 1,499 votes in the 2014 Lok Sabha poll.

“Shivanagouda ensured Amareshwara’s induction into the BJP. He succeeded in convincing the party leadership to field Amareshwara for a bitter rivalry he shares with B V Naik,” points out a BJP functionary.

The anti-incumbency and Modi wave have put the incumbent’s poll prospects in danger. At every step there is simmering anger and disappointment against him. 

“He is out of our reach. As regards development, situation is as it was in 2014,” Devadurga farmer Ajjayya Hiremath’s words indicate tough battle for the MP.

Mehaboob Pasha, a garage owner at Manvi, admits that the MP is simple and humble.
“Even Amareshwara is also simple and humble. But will it solve our woes?” he asks implying displeasure over the MP’s performance.

There are about 3.80 lakh SCs, 3.50 lakh STs, 3 lakh Lingayats, 2.60 lakh Muslims, 1.90 Gangamathasthas and 2 lakh voters belonging to other communities. As the two candidates belong to the ST, split of votes is imminent.

The BJP is making a determined bid to wrest the constituency. Team Modi members have been highlighting failure of the father-son duo in the last 25 years to develop the constituency.

The past electoral behaviour indicates that the Lingayats’ choice has been decisive in the victory of candidates.
State BJP president B S Yeddyurappa’s popularity among Lingayats is good news for Amareshwara.

The incumbent’s fate depends on a number of permutations and combinations. 

“BJP’s Manappa Vajjal, a great pal of B V Naik, remained neutral in the 2014 Lok Sabha poll ensuring over 12,000 lead to Congress from Lingasgur. Naik’s fate largely depends on Vajjal’s move this time,” says a local Congress leader.

There are reports that Yeddyurappa has requested Vajjal to ensure lead for the BJP nominee.

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