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Shettar all set for a cakewalk in Hubli-Dharwad

Last updated on: April 19, 2013 14:30 IST

Shettar all set for a cakewalk in Hubli-Dharwad

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Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore

Hubli-Dharwad Central, from where Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar is contesting, is definitely a constituency to watch out for in the upcoming Karnataka assembly election.

What appeared to be a tough battle at first now looks like a cakewalk for the Bharatiya Janata Party leader as none of the parties could field a strong candidate against Shettar.

There was a lot of hype that surrounded this constituency. It was said at first that two "very strong candidates" from former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa's Karnataka Janatha Paksha and the Congress would take on the chief minister.

However, looking at the final list, both these parties have put up newcomers against Shettar.

Hubli-Dharwad has been a very strong BJP hub and the chief minister would not find it a problem to retain his seat. His bigger worry would be to ensure that the party does well in all parts of north Karnataka since this was the region which made a lot of difference to the party in the previous elections.

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Image: Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar hearing public grievances at the Home office in Bangalore
Photographs: Courtesy: Jagadish Shettar's website

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Yeddyurappa's game went wrong

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B S Yeddyurappa, who quit the BJP after making Shettar the chief minister, had sworn to defeat the latter. The influential Linagayat leader did everything under the sun -- including a behind-the-scenes bid to tie up with the Congress -- to defeat Shettar.

However, for Yeddyurappa the game went wrong. The first of the setbacks was when his most trusted aide Basavaraj Bommai refused to pull out of the BJP. Further his other supporter Ashok Katwe, who is quite strong in the region, also refused to contest against Shettar.

Each of them explained to Yeddyurappa that they did not want to contest against a chief ministerial candidate. They felt that they would be accused of trying to block a person from their region becoming a chief minister.

Yeddyurappa was then forced to field a newcomer S S Patil. Shettar would not be too worried about Patil since he is from a new party and the candidate is known more for his father Adargunchi Shankargouda Patil who was one of the main persons who fought for the unification of Karnataka.

The Lingayat factor is going to work the most at the Hubli-Dharwad Central constituency. The community would root for Shettar, also a Lingayat, since they feel that he has a better chance of becoming the chief minister. Moreover, the people of the region also feel that the BJP could have a chance after all, since a lot has changed after so much infighting in the Congress during the run up to the elections.

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Image: KJP leader B S Yeddyurappa did everything under the sun to defeat Shettar


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'Won't say I'll be voted only because I'm a CM candidate'

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The Congress too has fielded a relatively weak candidate -- Dr Mahesh Nalwad -- against the four-time winner Shettar.

The only worry for Shettar is the anti-incumbency factor. However, none in the ruling BJP feel that it is even a factor. The people would want him to win because he is a CM candidate.

During the run up to the finalisation of candidates from this constituency, the only point where Shettar could have been a bit worried was if the Congress had fielded former state police chief Shankar Bidari, who is also a Lingayat.

BJP's star campaigner Shettar would have ended up spending more time in his own constituency as Bidari does have the clout to split the Lingayat vote. However, it is said that Bidari himself was not interested in contesting the seat against Shettar.

Although the fight would have been a tough one, Shettar would have still managed to win the seat and this would not have gone down too well with Bidari who is making his debut in politics.

Shettar, however, looks extremely confident. He tells rediff.com that he never looked into the various combinations that the other parties were trying to forge in order to defeat him.

"I would not say that I will be voted only because I am a CM candidate. While that is one of the reasons, the people look at me as their leader. I would not want to comment on the rest of the candidates," he notes.


Image: I never looked into various combinations that other parties were trying to forge in order to defeat me, says Shettar
Photographs: Courtesy: Jagadish Shettar's website

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