Caste equations, price rise pep up Sindagi poll scene

Caste equations, ‘betrayal,’ price rise pep up Sindagi poll scene

The saffron party is making all-out efforts to prevent the split in the Lingayat votes, its traditional support base

Noises on caste equations have silenced talk on development ahead of the October 30 bypoll to the Sindagi assembly constituency where a fierce battle is underway between the BJP and the Congress, with the prospect of the JD(S) playing spoilsport.

The bypoll was necessitated following the death of JD(S) MLA and former minister M C Managuli.

While the ruling BJP has fielded Ramesh Bhusanur, a former two-time legislator, the Congress picked Ashok Managuli, son of the late JD(S) MLA.

The JD(S) has fielded Najiya Angadi, a political novice, apparently to woo minority community votes.  

The BJP is dependent on the works being done by its governments at the Centre and in the state and the credentials of Bhusanur, a Ganiga Lingayat.

The saffron party is making all-out efforts to prevent the split in the Lingayat votes, its traditional support base. 

The Congress is wooing voters on the plank of price rise and is trying to consolidate the Ahinda (minorities, backward classes and Dalits) votes.

Congress leaders are also attacking the RSS, the BJP’s ideological parent, ostensibly to attract minorities.

There is no palpable wave of sympathy for Ashok, who is looking to take his father’s mantle.   

Also read: Karnataka CM Bommai confident of BJP's victory in bypolls to Sindagi, Hanagal

The JD(S) is leaving no stone unturned to retain the seat, which is not a stronghold for it. The late Manguli won twice on the basis of his personal charisma. 

The regional party is trying hard to influence the electorate by raking up ‘breach of trust’ by the Manguli family, despite sanctioning Rs 1,200 crore to the constituency during the previous JD(S)-Congress coalition government.

JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda and former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy, who have taken the bypoll seriously, are camping here and are visiting villages, seeking votes.

The Ganiga and Panchamasali Lingayats, Kurubas and Muslims constitute a major chunk of the population in the segment. 

The BJP and Congress have set their eyes on these votes. Both parties are conducting community-wise meetings, with the BJP deputing ministers to drum up support. 

BJP’s poll managers say that former chief minister B S Yediyurappa’s campaign for two days in some locations of the constituency may help swing the byelection in its favour. 

Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah, KPCC president D K Shivakumar and other Congress leaders have campaigned extensively to wrest the constituency, where its candidate got pushed to the third spot in the previous elections. 

For average voters, like Mohammed Rafeeq, a fruit-vendor at Gabasavalagi, the bypoll does not mean much.

“Our life has become miserable due to frequent rise in prices of essential commodities. I don’t think the politicians will do good for us. Our duty is to cast a vote. We will do it,” he said.