BSY's return to BJP makes it difficult for Cong in Shimoga

BSY's return to BJP makes it difficult for Cong in Shimoga

The return of former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa to the BJP has made the candidate selection process for Shimoga parliamentary constituency a tough task for the Congress.

The ruling party has begun scouting for a strong candidate who could take on Yeddyurappa in the event of his jumping into the fray. The BJP, however, is playing the cards close to its chest. While the saffron party is in favour of Yeddyurappa contesting the election, he wants the party to field his son B Y Raghavendra, who is the sitting MP, again.

The Congress sources said the party will not confine itself to the names recommended by the KPCC election committee -- Kumar Bangarappa, Manjunath Bhandari, H S Sundaresh and Yogish – at the time of selection. This is because Yeddyurappa's joining the BJP had not taken a final shape when the KPCC election panel shortlisted candidates for Shimoga. And, in all probability, the Congress will announce its candidate only after the BJP discloses its decision, sources said. 

Sources said the party had recently approached Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa and Primary and Secondary Education Minister Kimmane Ratnakara. While Kagodu is a veteran leader and belongs to Idiga community, Ratnakara is a Vokkaliga. The party believes that either of them will be able to take on Yeddyurappa who is a Lingayat. However, both are said to be reluctant to contest the election. Kagodu is learnt to have said that he does not want to contest any election in future.

Shimoga has so far elected leaders belonging to only four communities  -- Lingayat, Idiga, Muslim and Brahmin – as MPs. Idiga and Lingayat are two dominant communities in the constituency. If BJP fields a Lingayat, then the Congress may pick an Idiga. But the party will have to balance the caste equations of the entire Malnad and Coastal region while finalising candidates, sources said.

The party sources said the Congress is also keenly watching the JD(S)’ decision on the candidate. The JD(S) leaders, it is said, have among others names of Madhu Bangarappa and cine actor Shivarajkumar’s wife Geetha’s name in their minds. 

But nothing has been finalised yet. If Madhu Bangarappa becomes the JD(S) candidate, the Congress may field Kumar Bangarappa. A section of party leaders are, however, of the view that the fight between Bangarappa siblings at the hustings would prove to be advantageous to the BJP as there is a possibility of Idiga votes getting divided, sources said.

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