12 LS seats in K’taka to witness high-stake contest

Bengaluru, March 16 (IANS) Karnataka will witness the high-stake contest on at least 12 Lok Sabha constituencies out of a total of 28 seats where two main parties Congress and BJP have announced their candidates, for almost all the seats.

These 12 seats are: Bengaluru Rural, Shivamogga, Mysuru, Gulbarga, Haveri, Davanagere, Bengaluru North, Bengaluru South, Bellary, Dakshina Kannada, Mandya, and Hassan.

BJP has announced candidates for most of the seats. NDA partner JD-S has started campaigning for the Hassan seat but is yet to announce the candidate for the Mandya seat. The Congress has fielded its candidates in Bengaluru Rural, Shivamogga, Mandya, Haveri and Hassan seats.

Bengaluru Rural has turned into a high-profile seat with the BJP declaring C.N. Manjunath, son-in-law of former PM H.D. Deve Gowda as its candidate. D.K. Suresh brother of Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar is the sitting MP here.

The Gowda family wants to defeat Shivakumar’s brother with the help of the BJP and pass on a message that the Vokkaliga vote bank is still behind them. On the other hand, Shivakumar, who managed to break the Vokkaliga vote bank of JD-S during last year’s assembly elections is making all efforts to emerge as the leader of the influential Vokkaliga community.

Sources said that Manjunath has been strategically fielded by BJP as the Bengaluru Rural constituency is spread in four districts of Karnataka that are Ramanagar, Bengaluru Urban, BBMP Central and Tumakuru.

Sources said that since the appeal of JD-S to voters in urban districts like Bengaluru Urban and BBMP Central is minimal, the Gowda family and BJP’s top leadership had decided to field him. BJP leadership will take care of urban segments, while JD-S leaders will cover Ramanagar and Tumakuru regions.

Shivakumar who is all set to stake claims for the post of the Chief Minister after the Lok Sabha election for 2.5 years, has called upon JD-S workers to join Congress. Shivakumar and Suresh are claiming that since the son-in-law of Deve Gowda is contesting from JD-S, it shows that JD-S as a party does not exist.

On the other hand, former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has said that Shivakumar and his brother are no match to Manjunath as he has a clean image.

Bengaluru Rural is considered the bastion of Shivakumar. It was the only seat Congress managed to win from Karnataka during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The Shivamogga seat will also witness dramatic developments. B.Y. Raghavendra — son of former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa and brother of State BJP President B.Y. Vijayendra — will contest as the BJP candidate for the fourth time.

Congress, which hopes to end the Yediyurappa family’s dominance in the district, has fielded late former Chief Minister S. Bangarappa’s daughter Geetha Shivarajkumar.

However, in Shivamogga, the BJP is also going through infighting which can cost Raghavendra this upcoming election. Senior BJP leader K.S. Eshwarappa has openly announced his rebellion against the Yediyurappa family. He has said that he will contest as an independent candidate which will divide the BJP votes in the constituency.

Minister Madhu Bangarappa had already started attacking the Yediyurappa family and Raghavendra. Interestingly, Kumar Bangarappa, another brother of Congress candidate Geetha Shivarajkumar is with BJP and close to the Yediyurappa family.

The Mysuru will witness the clash of royals with Mysuru’s royal scion Yaduveer Wadiyar fighting from the BJP ticket. The Congress is yet to announce its candidate in the constituency.

Sources said that either Yathindra, son of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah or a Vokkaliga leader would contest as the Congress candidate.

In a daring move, the BJP had denied a ticket to two-time MP Pratap Simha, known as a staunch Hindutva follower, from this segment. Since Mysuru district is also the home of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, the competition is going to be interesting.

Gulbarga or Kalaburagi seat is presently represented by Umesh Jadhav of BJP. He had defeated Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

The Congress is yet to announce the candidate for the seat. Sources said that senior Congress leader Radha Krishna, the son-in-law of Kharge is likely to be given a ticket from the Kalaburagi seat.

Davanagere seat is likely to witness the clash of two major families from the district. BJP has named Gayathri Siddeshwar, wife of sitting BJP MP G.M. Siddeshwar as its candidate amid the internal opposition.

The Congress is likely to rope in Prabha Mallikarjun, wife of Minister for Mines and Geology, Horticulture S.S. Mallikarjun.

Shamnur Shivashankarappa, sitting Congress MLA and President of Veerashaiva-Lingayat Mahasabha is her father-in-law.

Though both families are relatives, they represent and fight from different political parties.

Former minister B. Sriramulu has been announced as the candidate for the Bellary seat. Sonia Gandhi and Late Sushma Swaraj fought for the Bellary seat in 1999. The constituency drew national attention after Sonia Gandhi won with a margin of 56,000 votes.

Sriramulu, who suffered defeat in assembly elections, has challenged Congress to field the candidates of their choice and he would defeat their candidate.

Mining baron-turned-politician Gali Janardhana Reddy had recently met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi. Sources said that Reddy who voted for Congress candidate in the Rajya Sabha election is tilting towards BJP. Sriramulu and Reddy have also supposedly grown closer.

Winning the Mandya seat is prestigious for both the Congress and JD (S)-BJP alliance. Mandya is considered the heartland of Vokkaligas. Venkatarame Gowda aka Star Chandru is the Congress candidate. His brother K.H. Puttaswamy Gowda is an independent MLA from Gauribidanur.

The JD-S is contemplating to field Nikhil Kumaraswamy, son of former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy from the seat as a NDA candidate.

Mandya sitting MP, Sumalatha Ambareesh, who won as an independent candidate is likely to contest as an independent candidate again. However, the BJP is in talks with her to bring her into their fold.

Tejasvi Surya is representing BJP in Bengaluru South seat. Though the segment is considered a stronghold of BJP, Congress is planning to field former MLA Sowmya Reddy, daughter of Minister for Muzarai Ramalinga Reddy. He is one of the senior-most leaders in the state Congress.

JD-S has begun campaigning for the Hassan Parliamentary seat. Former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy had asked the voters to vote for Prajwal Revanna.

Prajwal Revanna is a sitting MP from Hassan.

Congress party has fielded M. Shreyas Patel, grandson of late MP G. Puttaswamy Gowda, who had defeated former PM Deve Gowda in 1999 Lok Sabha polls.

Shreyas was defeated by a narrow margin by former Minister H.D. Revanna in the 2023 assembly elections.

Minister of State Shobha Karandlaje is contesting from Bengaluru North seat from BJP. Former Chief Minister D.V. Sadananada Gowda was denied a ticket. The Congress is planning to field a heavy-weight against Shobha.

The BJP has issued the ticket to Captain Brijesh Chowta from the communally sensitive Dakshina Kannada district.

The party has denied the ticket to former state president Nalin Kumar Kateel while the Congress is in search of a formidable opponent.



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