People connect may see Madhu through for second time in a row

People connect may see Madhu through for second time in a row

Sorab (Shivamogga dist): Sitting MLA of JD(S) Madhu Bangarappa and former minister Kumar Bangarappa of BJP, sons of late chief minister S Bangarappa, are pitted against each other in the Sorab constituency falling in the lush green Malnad region of Karnataka.

Sorab constituency has 1,84,585 voters (93,911 male and 90,662 female). Idigas form the major chunk of voters, followed by Lingayats, Madiwalas, and Muslims. The controversial Dandavathi irrigation project has become a major poll issue. While the BJP says the long-pending project will be implemented without affecting farmers in any part of the constituency, the JD(S) believes it is not feasible.

Madhu is banking on his close contact with the people cutting across all sections in the constituency. The JD(S) leader hopes that the issuance of title deeds to bagair hukum cultivators and implementation of development works in the last five years would tilt the balance in his favour. Voters say that Madhu maintained a good rapport with people of the constituency despite losing the polls twice in a row – 2004 and 2008 - before winning in 2013. 

Having won Sorab seat thrice in a row since 1996 on a Congress ticket, Kumar is contesting as the BJP nominee for the first time. He had also served as minister in S M Krishna’s cabinet.

But his interactions with voters came down after he lost the 2008 and 2013 elections. Hartala Halappa, former minister, who had emerged victorious against the brothers in 2008 on a BJP ticket, is the nominee of the Saffron Party from the neighbouring Sagar now.

Kumar is pinning his hopes on the party base in the constituency, his loyal supporters as well as backing from Lingayats and Idiga community who play a decisive role in the victory of any candidate in the constituency. He also hopes to get the support of Halappa followers to regain his hold on the constituency. Halappa has campaigned in favour of Kumar. However, it remains to be seen if Halappa can succeed in transferring votes of his supporters to Kumar.

After Kumar embraced the BJP by quitting the Congress alleging ill-treatment, the ruling Congress was looking for a leader in the region. It tried to rope in Halappa, who thought that he would be denied the BJP ticket. Finally, BJP state president Yeddyurappa convinced him to remain in the party.

Raju M Talluru, a businessman belonging to the Madiwala community, is the nominee from the Congress. He was with the BJP earlier. After realising that he would not be given the ticket, he crossed over to the Congress.

Raju is banking on development works, including irrigation project and free ambulance service he had introduced in the constituency.

Madhu is leaving no stone unturned to register a second victory in a row, while Kumar has to win to prove that his induction has benefited BJP.