In Tumkur, pride, prestige of top leaders at stake

Getting the caste equation right holds the key here

In Tumkur, pride, prestige of top leaders at stake

 There is much at stake, prominently pride and prestige of key leaders, in the battle for this prestigious seat.

A complex combination of factors will be at play in deciding the winner and the constituency may even throw up a surprise winner.

It is a triangular fight and none of the parties can be taken lightly. The BJP has fielded G S Basavaraj, the sitting MP, who had been suspended for anti-party activities. The suspension was revoked soon after the return to the party of B S Yeddyurappa, Basavaraj’s mentor. 

The Congress has nominated S P Muddahanume Gowda, a former JD(S) man. The latter party has fielded A Krishnappa, its State unit president and ‘migrant’ from the Congress.    

The district BJP unit had opposed Basavaraj’s candidature, on the grounds that he was not trustworthy. But the BJP leaders are now putting up a united front in the changed political scenario.

Gowda’s victory is crucial for both Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and State Congress chief G Parameshwara, who hails from the district. Siddaramaiah would be looking to bury the conspiracy theory doing rounds that he was responsible for Parameshwara’s defeat in the Koratagere seat at the hands of the JD(S) candidate in the last Assembly elections. The chief minister is campaigning hard for the Congress nominee, handpicked by Parameshwara.

Former prime minister H D Deve Gowda has shown special interest in the victory of Krishnappa, banking on the OBC-Vokkaliga formula. C N Bhaskarappa, a Kuruba, had won the seat for the party in 1996, riding on such a strategy.

Tumkur constituency has a voter strength of around 14 lakh, including 4.5 lakh Lingayats and four lakh Vokkaligas. The Lingayats are expected to throw their weight solidly behind the BJP, given the Yeddyurappa factor.

 The ‘Modi wave’ may draw the undecided voters in urban pockets. But the Vokkaliga votes may be expected to get divided between the Congress and the JD(S). The SC/STs number two lakh in the constituency, while the OBCs are between 80,000 and 90,000. The number of those belonging to other sections of society is two lakh.

The “amiable personality” of Muddahanume Gowda may give Congress the edge and the “not-so-good” track record of Basavaraj may work against the BJP, it is said. Though Krishnappa carries the ‘outsider’ tag, the fact that four out of the eight MLAs from the district belong to the JD(S) may come in handy. Krishnappa, belonging to the Golla community, banks on Vokkaligas, Muslims and OBCs to help him sail through. 

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