Bengaluru: On April 23, all eyes will be on one particular constituency that has been a stronghold of one man, who is touted to be the man who can give Prime Minister Narendra Modi a run for his money.

It’s the constituency of Kalaburagi, Karnataka, which has been won by Mallikarjun Kharge several times, making it his fiefdom. But in this Lok Sabha election, as many feel, there might be a change in the script. That is because of the entry of another politician who was, till two months ago, a staunch Congressman, but tergiversated to the BJP, Umesh Jadhav.

One of the primary reasons why Kharge might face an ignominious defeat is the way his trusted lieutenants – Baburao Chincholi, representing BJP from Gurmitkal constituency and Malikayya Guttedar, representing BJP from Afzalpur constituency have deserted him in the last few years. Qamaral ul Islam, another close aide of Kharge has passed away.

The threats of losing the elections have given Kharge some sleepless nights. Though Mallikarjun Kharge is the in-charge of the election affairs of Maharasthra, sources say he has not even gone there to oversee Congress’s preparations of the Lok Sabha polls.

That brings us to the question of Kharge’s “putravyamoh” or exemplary love for one’s son, in this case Priyank Kharge. Many loyal supporters of Kharge feel that he too has practised what Congress is infamously known for, “dynasty politics”.

It is said Mallikarjun Kharge has practised nepotism at the cost of other local leaders who have stood by him through thick and thin!

“The expectations from Kharge were indeed high. As he moved to the Centre, many thought he would allow the local leaders to grow. But sadly, many of his supporters did not even get a ticket, and even if they did, they did not get prominent portfolios. Everything was reserved for his son Priyank Kharge. Many are miffed with this and are trying to bring him down, using the anti-incumbency wave,” said Shreenath Sheshadri, a BJP spokesperson.