It's an all-in-the-family fight in Devadurga

It's an all-in-the-family fight in Devadurga

It will virtually be a all-in-the-family fight for the Devadurga seat (ST-reserved)  in the district, in the byelection.

Observers say that though all three parties (Cong, BJP, JD-S) are in the fray, the contest is between Rajashekhar Nayak (Congress) and his son-in-law K Shivanagouda Nayak (BJP), a former minister.

The two crorepatis candidates have money power behind them. Yet, the less wealthy JD(S) candidate - Karemma Gopalakrishna - may eat into some votes of the two Nayaks, it is said. What adds twist to the tale is the fear that disgruntled leaders who have missed out on the tickets for the upcoming Panchayat elections or rebel candidates may harm the prospects of their respective parties. The election is being held following the death of sitting legislator A Venkatesh Nayak (Congress). Though voters have respect for him, it is a million-dollar question as to whether they help his younger son Rajashekhar to sail through.

Venkatesh Nayak’s elder son B V Nayak is the sitting Raichur MP. The party’s three members each of the Assembly and the Council have put their weight behind the Congress. Former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa has tasked his lieutenant V Somanna to win the election. The latter has been enlisting the support of the Mutts.

The Congress is wooing the Nayak community by deputing minister Satish Jarkiholi for the task, while the BJP is trying to garner the votes of the community through former minister B Sriramulu. Former minister Govind Karjol is camping in the constituency to attract votes of the Scheduled Castes (SCs), while senior leader Mallikarjuna Kharge and a few State ministers are camping in Devadurga to ensure that Congress gets the votes of these communities.

There is stiff competition to garner the votes of the Lingayats and backward classes comprising the Kurubas and the Kabbers. For the JD(S) candidate, her party State chief Kumaraswamy and a few legislators are seeking the votes. It is rather a dilemma for the voters as to who they should choose. A section of the voters favours the BJP nominee, given that as a minister he had got thousands of Janata houses constructed in the constituency. He is also credited with getting roads built and water supply, library projects implemented. But Shivanagouda’s rash behaviour towards officials may prove a minus point for him, voters say.

Shivanagouda claims he brought grants to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore for Devadurga, but some question why about 20 villages still have no bus connectivity.  The Congress, on its part, says Siddaramaiah has launched development works worth Rs 200 crore. While some people say this will come in handy for the party’s nominee, others are sceptical on the funds being used fruitfully. However, Venkatesh Nayak’s sons don’t mingle with the people easily, it is said.

A teacher in the constituency puts the whole situation in perspective. “People claim to support one or the other candidate. But the one who distributes more money or liquor wins eventually,” he said.

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