BJP’s multi-pronged strategy to wrest Jamkhandi

BJP’s multi-pronged strategy to wrest Jamkhandi

BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa is said to have drawn up a multi-pronged strategy to ensure the victory of party candidate Srikanth Kulkarni in the byelections from the Jamkhandi Assembly constituency.

The BJP is keen that it wrest the constituency in Bagalkot district from the Congress.

Yeddyurappa had appointed senior BJP leader and former chief minister Jagadish Shettar as the lead incharge for the constituency. However, Shettar has since left on a tour of Europe and will be back only on October 29.

The former chief minister has taken personal interest in the segment and winning there as a prestige issue, party insiders said.

The bypolls have been necessitated following the demise of sitting MLA Siddu Nyamagouda. The Congress has given the ticket to Nyamagouda’s son Anand.

The BJP is trying to counter the sympathy factor in favour of Anand by consolidating the Lingayat votes and also quelling the internal rebellion in the constituency.

Siddu Nyamagouda was an undisputed leader of the Ganiga-Lingayat community. He was popular and is credited with building the first private barrage across River Krishna through crowdsourcing in the 1980s. With Siddu Nyamagouda no more, the BJP has started wooing the Ganiga-Lingayat voters.

Kulkarni, a Brahmin, lost the May 2018 polls against Nyamagouda by a narrow margin of 2,900 votes. The defeat was mainly attributed to the candidature of former minister Murgesh Nirani’s brother Sangamesh.

Sangamesh Nirani, a Panchamashali Lingayat, was denied a ticket by the BJP and he had contested as a rebel. He managed to secure a substantial number of votes from the community, who are also in large numbers in the constituency. Sangamesh was subsequently expelled from the party.

Yeddyurappa recently revoked the expulsion of Sangamesh. He has since pledged to work for Kulkarni. On his part, Kulkarni is said to have told Sangamesh that he will not contest the next Assembly polls.

There are also a substantial number of Madigas (left wing of Scheduled Castes) in Jamakhandi and BJP wants to tap their votes.

The Congress has appointed Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara as incharge of the constituency and the BJP has launched a silent campaign against him as being a hurdle to the implementation of the A J Sadashiva Commission recommendations. Parameshwara belongs to the right wing of the SCs.

The Madigas are resentful of the right wing, stating they are cornering all the reservation benefits. The Sadashiva Commission has recommended a higher share of reservation benefits to the Madigas.

Yeddyurappa wants to win the seat to increase the tally of his party in the Assembly, which will be of help in case the party stakes claim to form the government in future. In all, it is going to be a keenly fought contest and locals say it will be a photo finish.