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Karnataka Election Result: Will BSY get a walkover in Shikaripura or will JD (S) give former CM a tough fight?

The names of former MLA Mahalingappa, Nagarada Mahadevappa and former MLC Shanthaveerappa Gowda were also doing rounds till last week.

D P Satish | News18dp_satish

Updated:May 15, 2018, 8:44 AM IST
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Karnataka Election Result: Will BSY get a walkover in Shikaripura or will JD (S) give former CM a tough fight?
As the political campaign gathers steam in poll-bound Karnataka, a little bit of Superstitiousness goes a long way. The BJP earlier had attacked the Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah by tweeting a photograph of the Congress leader. In the photo, the Chief Minister was seen campaigning in poll-bound Karnataka with a lemon in hand. (Cartoon by Mir Suhail)
Bengaluru: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and state JD (S) Chief HD Kumaraswamy were sweating it out in their respective assembly segments during the Karnataka Elections campaign, but one man seemed at ease on his home turf. Why is BJP’s chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa hopeful of an easy ride in his constituency of Shikaripura in Shimoga district?

This is courtesy of the lightweight Congress candidate in his constituency. The local Congress leaders in Shimoga were hoping that the party would field a strong candidate against the BJP stalwart. But when the list was announced, they were in for a rude shock as local municipality member and block Congress president GB Malatesh, popularly known as Goni Malatesh, was nominated to take on mighty Yeddyurappa.

Malatesh is not well known even in Shimoga district and when compared to Yeddyurappa, he is a political ‘nobody’, claim his own party workers.

Since Shikaripura is a Lingayat-dominated seat, Congress workers had been demanding that a powerful Lingayat leader be fielded to take on Yeddyurappa there.

The names of former MLA Mahalingappa, Nagarada Mahadevappa and former MLC Shanthaveerappa Gowda were also doing rounds till last week.

Mahalingappa had defeated Yeddyurappa on a Congress ticket in 1999 and Shanthaveerappa Gowda had lost to Yeddyurappa’s son BY Raghavendra by about 6,000 votes in 2014 Assembly bypolls.

Shanthaveerappa Gowda returned to the BJP recently and some Congress workers were hoping that the party would lure him back.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was planning to field local MLC and former district Congress president Prasanna Kumar from Shikaripura. The name of Malatesh was nowhere under consideration and his candidature has led to a furious debate in political circles.

Ramesh Appanna, a local Congress supporter, said that his party had given Shikaripura to Yeddyurappa on a platter. “Malatesh is a nobody. He is a Kuruba by caste, not a Lingayat. He won’t be able to take on Yeddyurappa. We know that it is very difficult to defeat Yeddyurappa. But we expected the Congress to field a candidate with some stature. The party has let us down.”

He claims that someone in the Congress is helping Yeddyurappa for reasons best known to them. “I heard that a senior minister has helped him by fielding a weak candidate against him. These are all rumours. I can’t confirm anything,” he said.

The Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) dismisses these claims as “imaginations of some disgruntled elements” in the party.

Shimoga district Congress president TN Srinivas rubbished the claims of an “understanding” with Yeddyurappa, saying that a Kuruba candidate like Malatesh can mobilise Backward Class, Muslim and SC/ST votes against Yeddyurappa.

On the contrary, the JD(S), which the Congress has called the ‘B’ team of the BJP, has fielded a much stronger candidate, HT Baligar, who is a Lingayat. He is campaigning across Shikaripura, enthusing the party workers.

The neighbouring Soraba MLA and JD(S) leader Madhu Bangarappa is behind Baligar’s candidature. Speaking to News18, Madhu said he was confident of giving a tough fight to Yeddyurappa.

“In 1999, my father late S Bangarappa had got both Yeddyurappa and Eshwarappa defeated. Nobody is invincible. We will ensure that Yeddyurappa will have to sweat it out this time,” he said.

Current BJP MLA and Yeddyurappa’s elder son BY Raghavendra was handling his father’s campaign in the constituency.

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| Edited by: Puja Menon
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