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Home > India > News > Report

K'taka: A race for tickets & caste games

Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore | April 08, 2008 11:11 IST

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Coverage: Karnataka Votes

Traffic jams are not new to Bangalore. But since a week, the problem seems to have aggravated -- thanks to the election frenzy in the city.

Traffic on Queens Road, Race Course Road and Malleshwaram -- where offices of the Congress, Janata Dal-Secular and Bharatiya Janata Party are situated -- has increased two fold, as ticket aspirants have been hovering around these areas.

Even as the parties finalise the lists for the first phase of the elections to be held on May 10, aspirants from across the state continue to do everything in the book to impress their party bosses.

A Congress leader told that candidates are ready to go to any length to ensure that they get the important tickets to contest the polls.

This time, aspiring candidates are presenting neat applications. A bio-data, running into a minimum of four pages and mentioning all their credentials, letters of recommendation and several papers mentioning their loyalty towards their respective party.

Unlike last time, these papers are not just pinned together and submitted in an envelope. It is all neatly packed in folders, thus giving it a very classy impressive look.

Aspirants for a Congress ticket also mention in their curriculum vitae that they would adhere to the two child norm and not encourage dowry.

Leaders from the BJP say this is a new trend followed by candidates just to show that they are adhering to modern tactics and also to show the party bosses that they are neat and organized.

Aspirants for a BJP ticket are even going a step ahead. There are several persons, who have even advertised in local papers and radio stations as to why they should be given the ticket this time.

The procedure in the JD-S is, however, by and large simple. All applications are scrutinized by former chief minister and senior leader of the party, H D Kumaraswamy.

However, the final stamp of approval would be that of party supremo H D Deve Gowda.

The JD-S is not looking at folders and impressive CVs. For them it is the loyalty towards the party and the winning factor that counts.

While all this is good for public consumption, the big question is whether these tactics will work to get a candidate his ticket? Old timers say it is impressive and there is a very youthful look about the manner in which applications are being submitted.

However, this is not enough, they say. No election can be fought without money and muscle power.

Moreover in Karnataka, at least this time, it is very evident that the elections are going to be fought mainly on the caste factor. After B S Yeddyurappa was ditched by the JD-S, he made it a point to tell the entire state that a Lingayat leader had been dumped and that the JD-S was anti-Lingayat.

All Lingayat mutts rallied around him and vowed to fight the anti-Lingayat forces. The JD-S, on its part, also decided to play the caste game. As a counter to the BJP, the JD-S rallied all Vokkaligas to fight against the Lingayats.

The Congress did not lag behind and roped in S M Krishna as the voice of the Vokkaligas in Karnataka.

Taking these equations into account, it becomes clear that even the tickets will finally be distributed based on caste equations. Experts say the trend this time around would be more on the caste factor. Stability too would count, but it is the caste factor which would have the final say.

All parties have borne this in mind and it is very likely that tickets too would be distributed based on this factor. In most parts of north Karnataka, a major chunk of the tickets will be given to the Lingayats as the community is dominant in that area. In the Bijapur-Bagalkot belt the Pancham Shalis, a sub caste of the Lingayats, is more dominant and hence candidates from this caste will be chosen.

At the Davangere belt tickets would automatically go to the Sadar Lingayats.

The Old Mysore belt has an equal number of Vokkaligas and Lingayats while in Mandya, it is the Gangatkar Gowdas, a sub caste among the Gowdas, who call the shots. In the Kolar and Chikkaballapur areas, it is the Marasu Vokkaligas who will be given the tickets while in Tumkur, the Unchittigas will have their say.

Apart from this there are Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes, who would automatically be chosen for reserved constituencies.

Bangalore would be the only cosmopolitan belt. There are several intellectuals such as professors and doctors who have applied for tickets to contest the polls from their respective parties.