In Tumkur, Gowda caught between Lingayats, Vokkaligas

In Tumkur, Gowda caught between Lingayats, Vokkaligas

Deve Gowda

Hailed as the satellite town of Bengaluru, Tumakuru has grabbed the attention of the country this Lok Sabha elections. Tumkur constituency, which had been witnessing a change of hands between the Congress and the BJP in the past elections, is poised for a high-stakes battle between two dominant communities of Karnataka — Lingayats and Vokkaligas — as JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda takes on former parliamentarian G S Basavaraju.

Regardless of the issues, communities across the district have begun to consolidate their vote base with respect to their leaders. However, what is at stake for both the communities is the considerable vote share of OBCs and Scheduled Castes.

“The district is vertically divided and the two communities are polarised to a great extent. The victory of any candidate is dependent on OBCs and SCs. Whoever gets votes en-masse will wear the smile,” opined an independent political analyst from Tumakuru. 

For Gowda, who chose to contest from Tumkur at the last minute, it will not be a cakewalk as incumbent MP from Congress Muddahanumegowda, hailed as the most vocal leader of Karnataka in Parliament, is perhaps the only sitting MP who was denied a ticket.

Facing stiff opposition from beleaguered Congress leaders who could have sway over three taluks, the 86-year-old former prime minister, an expert in electoral strategy, has managed to “convince” them.

Though the leaders have abstained from active campaigning till date, they shared a stage on Wednesday with Gowda following their top leader’s diktat. But whether the bonhomie will last until the end is the question haunting the party cadre.

The situation within the saffron brigade is no different as the district unit was riddled with factions. However, state BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa’s timely stitch seems to have brought the leaders together as they are actively campaigning for Basavaraju. Yet, on the campaign trail, the BJP is lagging behind the coalition forces and is yet to step up its campaign pace in the district. But the saffron brigade has been successful in flooding the
social media with a volley of allegations against Gowda and his alleged role in depriving the city of its share in Hemavathi river water.

Tumkur Lok Sabha seat has always eluded the JD(S) (erstwhile Janata Dal) though it has emerged as the largest party in the percentage of votes polled in the previous Assembly elections.

However, the BJP and Congress which occupy the second and third positions, have always managed to cut a smile on several occasions. But poll watchers reveal that the Congress-JD(S) coalition is likely to change the game this election with a sizeable vote share.