With 14 Karnataka Lok Sabha seats going to polls on Tuesday (April 23) in the second phase of election, there will be high-stakes battles between the BJP and the Congress-JDS coalition candidates in Shivamogga, Kalaburagi and Ballari. The BJP will try to retain Shivamogga while the Congress has made an all out effort to retain Kalaburagi and protect Ballari which was snatched from the BJP in last November’s by-election
Bengaluru: Karnataka’s remaining 14 Lok Sabha seats will go to polls on Tuesday (April 23) with high-stakes battles in three key constituencies between the ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition and the opposition BJP.
While a win in Kalaburagi will be a breather for senior Congress leader and the Opposition leader in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, and a victory for the BJP in Shivamogga will further consolidate former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa's position in state politics. A neck-to-neck race can be expected in Ballari between Congress's Ugrappa and BJP's Y Devendrappa.
In Shivamogga, it is a battle between the sons of former chief ministers. JD(S) candidate Madhu Bangarappa, the son of late S Bangarappa, and Yeddyurappa’s son BY Raghavendra have locked horns. The coalition partners will be eager to defeat the BJP as it will directly have an impact on the saffron party and Yeddyurappa's image. After an unconvincing victory last time, the BJP reached out to all communities. The 16 lakh-plus population has more number of Ediga community voters to which Madhu belongs to. However, Yeddyurappa, a Lingayat strongman turned Shivamogga into BJP fortress. Both the parties will be hoping the backward communities and minorities will turn out and vote for them.
"We have our organisational strength, there is Modi factor. BS Yeddyurappa is very appealing, so Shivamogga will be ours," said CT Ravi, BJP general secretary.
Social welfare minister Priyank Kharge said the Congress-JD(S) alliance has become a formidable force and will give jitters to the opposition.
Total Assembly segments in Shivamogga – 8 (Tirthahalli, Sagar, Shivamogga, Bhadravati, Byndoor, Shikaripur, Sorab, Shimoga Rural)
Congress managed to win only Bhadravathi in the MLA elections last year.
Total voters: 14.49 lakh
Candidates: BY Raghavendra (BJP); Madhu Bangarappa (JDS)
In Kalaburagi, the rise of rebellion from last one year has made the Congress worry. It started with Mallikayya Guttedar, a seven-time legislator quitting the party as he was denied a Cabinet berth in the Siddaramaiah government in the Cabinet reshuffle, and now Umesh Jadhav from Chincholi quit the Congress and joined the BJP to be pitted against Kharge.
Priyank Kharge used this development to lash out at Jadhav by terming him as turncoat. "The BJP was believed to be on buying out spree and people think Jhadhav is 'sold'. Jadhav also told he will die as Congressman but after few weeks he joined the BJP," said Priyank, the son of Mallikarjun Kharge.
BJP’s Ravi said that senior Kharge was a star campaigner but now he is hiding in his area to safeguard the seat. "There is Modi factor and anti-Kharge factor in Kalaburagi," Ravi said.
Total Assembly segments in Kalaburagi – 9 (Afzalpur, Chincholi, Sedam, Chittapur, Jewargi, Aland, Kalaburgi Rural, Kalaburagi Dakshina, Kalaburgi Uttara)
Congress holds six MLA seats to BJP’s three in the Kalaburagi Lok Sabha constituency.
Total voters – 17.21 lakh
Candidates: Umesh Jadhav (BJP), Mallikarjun Kharge (Congress)
In Ballari, the BJP might have not shown any interest in the last year’s by-election but now they have picked Congress rebel and relative of Belagavi strongman Ramesh Jarkiholi's relative Y Devendrappa. The absence of DK Shivakumar could be felt and the internal disturbance with the Congress made BJP very happy.
On the other side, sitting Congress MP VS Ugrappa who won by a record margin of over two lakh-plus votes, is confident of a win.
Priyank agreed that this time BJP has picked a strong candidate. "Last time a weaker candidate was fielded by the BJP, now that the general election has come, it is natural the opposition will field their best bet, but we are also confident," said Priyank.
Hoping that the fortunes will be turned this time in BJP's favour, Ravi said, “Last time there was an anti-Sriramulu factor in Ballari but now we have Modi factor, plus all Congress MLAs are fighting to become ministers and the Congress supporters will vote for the BJP," said Ravi.
Total Assembly segments – 8 (Hadagalli, Hagaribommanahalli, Vijayanagara, Kampli, Ballari, Ballari City, Sandur, Kudligi)
BJP won only two MLA seats among the eight in the Ballari Lok Sabha constituency.
Total voters: 14.87 lakh
Candidates: VS Ugrappa (Congress), Y Devendrappa (BJP)
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Last Updated 22, Apr 2019, 8:19 PM