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Cong-JDS Ploy to Field Ex-CM Bangarappa’s Son Against Yeddy Junior in Shimoga May Hit Home

Since 2009, either Yeddyurappa or his son has been representing the seat. However, the victory margin has changed significantly over the years.

Deepa Balakrishnan | CNN-News18deepab18

Updated:February 26, 2019, 7:08 PM IST
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Cong-JDS Ploy to Field Ex-CM Bangarappa’s Son Against Yeddy Junior in Shimoga May Hit Home
File photos of Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy and BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa.
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Bengaluru: The ruling Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress combine in Karnataka is likely to pit the son of former chief minister S Bangarappa, against BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa’s son in the BJP veteran’s home turf Shimoga for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

If finalised, the Madhu Bangarappa versus BY Raghavendra contest promises to be one of the keenly watched battles of 2019 as Shimoga has been a traditional stronghold of the Karnataka BJP president and leader of opposition in the assembly.

Yeddyurappa was elected to the Lok Sabha from Shimoga in 2014, but fielded his son in the bypoll after he contested the assembly election last year.

Since 2009, either Yeddyurappa or his son has been representing the seat. However, the victory margin has changed significantly over the years.

While the former chief minister won with a huge margin of over 3.6 lakh votes in 2014, Raghavendra won by about 52,000-plus votes in the 2018 by-poll.

It was also the only by-election victory for the BJP among the five held in 2018.

Buoyed by the results, the JDS-Congress coalition is keen to put in more resources in the “Madhu-Raagu” battle in the state that sent 17 BJP MPs from its quota of seats in 2014.

The next round of coordination committee meetings between the alliance partners to decide on the exact number of seats for each party and finalise candidates for all the 28 seats will be held over the weekend starting March 2.

“We are looking at strong faces. Last time too, both the parties had agreed on Madhu as the coalition candidate. Naturally this time too, it will be him,” said a senior Congress leader.

What the partners are trying to find out is if they can make inroads into the coastal Karnataka belt of Dakshina Kannada, Karwar and Udupi-Chikkamagalur.

“We want to approach this differently, there is a lot of anti-incumbency against the BJP MPs there,” he said.

While Hassan and Mandya will have JDS candidates, Congress hopes to field its candidate from the Mysore-Kodagu seat.

Each of the 28 Lok Sabha seats has eight assembly segments and wherever the Congress-JDS combine has more MLAs than the BJP, the alliance hopes to strike home.

Another seat to watch out for would be the Bengaluru Central one, from where actor-activist Prakash Rai has announced his candidature as an independent candidate.

“We had told him, we can field him if he was ready to join the Congress, but we can’t support him if he wants to contest as an independent. However, he is firm that he doesn’t want to join any party,” said a source.
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