BJP pulling out all stops to get a foothold in Mandya

BJP state president B S Yeddurappa with BJP leaders R Ashoka, Dr. Siddaramaiah, C P Yogeswar, Shobha karandlaje and D S Veeraiah at the BJP election campaign at Mandya.

Even as the JD(S)-Congress coalition has fielded former MLA L R Shivaramegowda in the bypoll to Mandya Lok Sabha constituency, the BJP, which has fielded a retired bureaucrat, is trying to gain a foothold, by pulling all strings. Its efforts seem to aim at establishing itself before the coming Lok Sabha general polls in 2019.

Even though BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa is a native of the district, the voters of the district are yet to accept the party. The bypolls to the constituency, vacated due to the resignation of District in-charge Minister C S Puttaraju, is scheduled to be held on November 3.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, of the 16,69,262 voters, 11,92,638 exercised their franchise. While C S Puttaraju of the JD(S) won with 5,24,370 votes, Ramya of the Congress secured 5,18,852 votes and B Shivalingaiah of the BJP managed to get 86,993 votes.

In the 2013 bypolls to Mandya Lok Sabha constituency, facilitated due to the resignation of then MP N Chaluvaraswamy, Ramya of the Congress won with 4,84,085 votes, followed by C S Puttaraju of the JD(S) with 4,16,474 votes. The BJP was nowhere in the scene.

All the eight Assembly constituencies under Mandya Lok Sabha constituency are held by the JD(S). They are: Mandya - M Srinivas; Maddur - D C Thammanna; Malavalli - K Annadani; Nagamangala - Suresh Gowda; KR Pet - Narayana Gowda; Melkote - C S Puttaraju; Srirangapatna - Ravindra Srikantaiah; and KR Nagar - Sa Ra Mahesh. Besides, there are three JD(S) ministers under the Lok Sabha segment — C S Puttaraju, D C Thammanna and Sa Ra Mahesh.

Traditionally, the Congress and the Janata Parivar are the political opponents in Mandya district. Over the past couple of decades, since the rise of former prime minister H D Deve Gowda and Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, the JD(S) is having an upper hand in the Vokkaliga dominated district. Even in KR Pet Assembly constituency, which includes Yeddyurappa’s native of Bukanakere village, the BJP stood a distant third with the party candidate B C Manju securing 9,819 votes of the total 1,74,003 votes polled.

Out of eight Assembly segments, only in three, the BJP has secured votes in five digits — Mandya - N Shivanna (32,064); Srirangapatna - K S Nanjundegowda (11,326); and Malavalli - B Somasekhar (10,808). Somasekhar was a powerful minister in the J H Patel government.

This time, there are a total of 16,69,404 voters in the constituency. However, the percentage of voting is likely to go down, due to the confusion and dissent in the wake of the coalition.

A Congress leader said, there were already three factions in the party — of former minister Ambarish, of former MP Ramya and a third faction opposed to both.

“Due to the imposition of the JD(S) candidate, members of all three factions of Congress are unhappy. However, a section of all three factions are likely to support Shivaramegowda. It has to be recalled that he was in the Congress for some time and had identified with the faction of former chief minister S M Krishna, who is now with the BJP. Besides, Shivaramegowda was also with the BJP form a couple of years and was BJP nominee in the 2009 Lok Sabha poll,” he pointed out.

A BJP leader, who preferred anonymity, said, in the last MP election, we secured 86,993 votes. “Due to the dissent in the Congress and also due to the concerted efforts of the BJP leaders, the vote share of the party would surely increase. However, if the votes of the BJP does not cross 2 lakh, this time also, the party has no hope in the near future,” he said.

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BJP pulling out all stops to get a foothold in Mandya

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