It is certainly not a cakewalk for Narayana Gowda

Narayana Gowda

The BJP has strengthened its base in K R Pet Assembly segment, Mandya district. But, it is not a cakewalk for the party candidate Narayana Gowda in the native taluk of Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa.

It is a triangular fight between all three major candidates — BJP’s Narayana Gowda, JD(S) candidate B L Devaraj and Congress’ K B Chandrashekar.

Though Narayana Gowda had successfully contested twice on JD(S) ticket, it is not easy for him as the Congress and the JD(S) have a strong hold on the segment for decades. Besides, a majority of the people, who supported him in the previous elections, have lost faith on him as he withdrew support for the JD(S)-Congress coalition government, by resigning as MLA.

It is a known fact that the JD(S) and Congress are the traditional rivals in the region. As per the poll percentage of the previous election, BJP has no strong base in the segment. The highest number of votes polled by a BJP candidate is 29,000 by K Srinivas, now MUDA Chairman, in the 2004 poll. Besides, in 2008 elections B Prakash had polled 27,131 votes. The lowest of late was 2,519 votes in 2013 elections. The BJP has faced a total of six elections and the party candidates have secured below 10,000 votes in three elections. The BJP was in the second position in 1994 with K N Kengegowda as candidate. But, it slipped to the fourth place in 1999 and 2004 and fifth place in 2013. However, in 2018, the party emerged third. But, the vote count was only 9,819 out of a total 2,05,554 votes polled.

BJP strengthened

This byelection, the BJP has strengthened in the segment for several reasons -- such as the party is in power in both, state and Centre. In addition, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa is a native of the taluk and Narayana Gowda represented the segment twice. Besides, MP Sumalatha’s supporters are likely to extend support to BJP as the party helped her during the Lok Sabha elections, without fielding a candidate.

It is not easy for the BJP, as JD(S) and Congress have a strong base and the candidates are familiar faces in the segment. Many people are reluctant to accept Narayana Gowda, as he resigned as an MLA.

While Congress candidate K B Chandrashekar has sympathy as he tasted defeat twice, JD(S) has its own supporters. Chandrashekar and Devaraj, both, have good experience in electoral politics. For Chandrashekar, the bypoll is the fifth contest and he was elected twice. Similarly, Devaraj unsuccessfully contested in 1999. He served as Zilla Panchayat member once.

Subhash of Agasarahalli said, "Though the BJP has improved in the region, the leaders are showing interest in the segment only for political benefits. Yediyurappa, who is a powerful leader, has neglected his native taluk. He had not visited the region before the byelection. Now, he is visiting often, to woo the voters."

Manjula of Haadanur, Shilenere hobli, said, “We voted for Narayana Gowda in the previous election. But, he did ditched his voters. Why should we support him again? BJP leaders have promised him a ministerial berth. What if he does not become minister? Will he resign again?” she asked.

Indresh of Tendekere, a supporter of Congress, said that this time, he has decided to support the BJP candidate. "It is not because of the party or the candidate. But, for the development of the segment. BJP is in power and Yediyurappa belongs to our segment. He has assured of development," he said.

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