BSY sits pretty, but hiccups do exist

BSY sits pretty, but hiccups do exist


This high-profile constituency is set to see a high-voltage contest between BJP’s chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa, Congress nominee G B Malatesh(first Assembly election) and JD(S) candidate H T Baligar (second assembly election).

But the former chief minister has an edge as he keeps reminding voters that they are electing the next chief minister and not just the MLA.

After the announcement of town muncipal council member G B Malatesh, locally known as Goni Malatesh, as the Congress nominee, the party has done some homework to put up a good fight against Yeddyurappa.

Malatesh, belonging to the Kuruba community, has brought one-time close aide of Yeddyurappa, H S Shantaveerappagouda of Lingayat community, back to the Congress party from the BJP.

Gouda had faced the byelection in Shikaripura held in 2014 on a Congress ticket against BJP nominee B Y Raghavendra after his father Yeddyurappa was elected as the Shivamogga MP. But the BJP registered a narrow-margin victory in the byelection as there was no JD(S) candidate in the fray.

Realising that Gouda, who belongs to the dominant Sadara Lingayat community in the constituency, may pose a threat in the next election, Yeddyurappa brought him back to BJP. But now, he has embraced the Congress again. He said Goni had campaigned in his favour in the by-election. Now, he wants to return the favour.

Former MLA Mahalingappa, who had defeated Yeddyurappa in the 1999 election, too has embraced Congress. One has to wait and see whether these two leaders of Lingayat community succeed in transferring the community votes to the Congress.

The constituency has 1,88,206 voters. Of them, 95,545 are male, 92,646 are female and 15 belong to the third gender. Lingayats form major chunk of voters, followed by SCs, Muslims and Kurubas. Yeddyurappa had said he would not be able to campaign in his home turf as he has to tour other parts of the state. But on April 19, the day he filed nomination papers, Yeddyurappa returned to the constituency after seeing a huge turnout when the Congress nominee filed his papers.

Yeddyurappa is keen to create record by becoming the first politician from the district to be elected legislator eight times. Former chief minister, the late S Bangarappa, was elected legislator from Sorab seven times in a row since 1967. Yeddyurappa was elected legislator from Shikaripura for seven times since 1983 (six times on BJP ticket and once on KJP ticket). But he lost once, in 1999, against the then Congress nominee Mahalingappa.

JD(S) nominee H T Baligar, belonging to the Valmiki Nayaka community and a retired government official, is using non-implementation of major irrigation projects as the main poll agenda by highlighting that despite becoming the chief minister, Yeddyurappa did nothing in this regard.

Malatesh is banking on social welfare schemes implemented by the Siddaramaiah government in the last five years and farm loan waiver. The ruling Congress
leaders are leaving no stone unturned to project the electoral battle in Shikaripura as a face-off between Yeddyurappa and Siddaramaiah.

But Yeddyurappa is confident of his victory and says his supporters are already calculating the likely margin.