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Shimoga: Will Eshwarappa overcome BSY's revenge strike?

April 30, 2013 14:39 IST

B S Yeddyurappa will leave no stone unturned to ensure defeat for his rival Karnataka BJP chief K S Eshwarappa, who is contesting from Shimoga constituency. However, Eshwarappa won’t take things lying down. Vicky Nanjappa reports.

There is a strategy in place at the Shimoga assembly constituency to defeat Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister K S Eshwarappa in the upcoming assembly election.

Shimoga has been a Bharatiya Janata Party bastion for a long time, but this time it appears shaky -- thanks to the fact that former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, the most popular leader in Shimoga, is no longer with the BJP.

What is making matters worse for Eshwarappa is that newly-founded Karnataka Janata Paksha chief Yeddyurappa has taken this battle personally. It is no secret that the two could not see eye to eye as Eshwarappa was one of the several BJP leaders who ran an anti-Yeddyurappa campaign.

Looking at the Shimoga battle closely, it becomes clear that Yeddyurappa’s KJP is not bothered if it wins the seat or not. They would also not mind even if the Congress wins, since the main intention is to defeat Eshwarappa.

Eshwarappa was in fact very upset with the choice of the Congress candidate, Prasanna Kumar, who hails from the Brahmin community. The Brahmins hold the fort in Shimoga, followed by the Muslims.

Both the Congress and the KJP had entered into an unseen agreement in this constituency and decided on the candidature of Prasanna Kumar. The idea was to break into the Brahmin votes which primarily belonged to the BJP.

The minorities anyways vote for the Congress and this is an additional point that they banked on.

Eshwarappa is worried no doubt, but is doing everything under the sun to win the elections. It would personally be a major loss for him as he will end up proving that he is unable to win without Yeddyurappa being in the BJP.

The other issue is that Yeddyurappa is a more identified leader in Shimoga when compared to Eshwarappa. Yeddyurappa would personally tell the people of Shimoga not to vote for Eshwarappa.

Eshwarappa is, however, putting up a brave face and says that all these combinations that his opponents are trying to work out will not make any difference to his victory.

“I have developed Shimoga and the party workers are rallying behind me. This is what gives me confidence”, Eshwarappa says. He also points out that it has never proved effective each time someone has run a negative campaign.

Eshwarappa’s development mantra is however countered by Yeddyurappa who claims that it was during his tenure as chief minister than Shimoga witnessed amazing growth.

There is no doubt that Yeddyurappa focused a lot on Shimoga during his tenure as the CM. He had two reasons for the same -- one he hails from Shikaripura which is in Shimoga district and secondly his son B Y Ragavendra was the Member of Parliament from the Shimoga parliamentary constituency.

It is very hard to predict who the winner here would be. If the Brahmins get together and vote for the BJP, then it would be a cake walk for Eshwarappa.

Image: Karnataka BJP chief K S Eshwarappa campaigning in Shimoga

Photograph: Courtesy Karnataka BJP website

Complete Coverage: Battleground Karnataka

Vicky Nanjappa in Shimoga