Undecided voters hold sway in Shimoga LS by-election

The BJP MLAs are leaving no stone unturned to ensure Raghavendra gets a lion’s share of votes in their respective constituencies. DH photo.

 In a two-cornered contest, for Shimoga Lok Sabha bypoll, between the sons of former chief ministers - B Y Raghavendra (BJP) and Madhu Bangarappa (JD-S) - undecided voters hold the key.

Two others in the fray JD-U’s Mahima Patel, son of J H Patel, and Independent Shashikumar Gowda, are unlikely to make any impact on the outcome. So, it’s going to be a straight fight between B Y Raghavendra and Madhu Bangarappa.

After Congress veterans Kagodu Thimmappa and Kimmane Rathnakar showed no interest in contesting the byelections, the JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda pulled off a master stroke by picking Madhu Bangarappa to take on B Y Raghavendra, who had defeated S Bangarappa in 2009 Parliamentary elections. It is no secret that the presence of Madhu in the fray has sent a strong message to the BJP camp that it is not going to be a cakewalk for Yeddyurappa’s son, this time.

That Congress and JD(S) are in alliance to take on the BJP has added to the strength of Madhu. Without doubt, the byelection provides an opportunity for political fledgelings to make a statement of intent and emerge from the shadows of their fathers. It also gives a platform for Madhu to emerge as the leader of the backward classes in the district.  

Similarly, Raghavendra would not get a better opportunity than this to prove his political mettle and silence his critics that his victory against S Bangarappa in 2009 was not a fluke.

Of the eight Assembly segments in Shimoga Lok Sabha constituency, including Byndoor of Udupi district, seven are represented by BJP MLAs and the Congress has one seat (Bhadravathi represented by B K Sangameshwara). The BJP MLAs are leaving no stone unturned to ensure Raghavendra gets a lion’s share of votes in their respective constituencies.

On the other hand, Madhu is banking on the concerted efforts of the JD(S) and the Congress biggies. Deve Gowda, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, senior Congress leaders Siddaramaiah, Kagodu Thimmappa, D K Shivakumar, Rathnakar among others are touring the constituency extensively. Hectic campaigning by the leaders of the alliance partners has given a shot in the arm for Madhu.

While Raghavendra, a Lingayat, looks to gain from Lingayat community votes, Madhu, who belongs to the Ediga, hopes to pocket community votes. Apart from keeping their vote base intact, the duo looks to tap into the votes of other backward classes, including Kurubas, and SC/STs.

Frontline leaders of the Congress and the JD(S) are highlighting inflation, dominance of father-son in Shivamogga politics to garner the support of voters. On the other hand, the BJP leaders are seeking votes on the basis of development works implemented in the district during Yeddyurappa’s tenure as chief minister, and to strengthen the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  

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Undecided voters hold sway in Shimoga LS by-election

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