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Home > India > News > Report

BJP's caste gamble in K'taka irks minorities

April 18, 2008 02:04 IST

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The distribution of tickets by the Bharatiya Janata Party for the forthcoming elections to the Karnataka assembly has caused heart burn among the minority groups who had been supporting the party in North Karnataka districts.

It was north Karnataka, which gave BJP the biggest strength in the 2004 elections. The party had won 33 seats from the Mumbai-Karnataka districts with Belgaum contributing 12, Bagalkot 7, Haveri 4, Dharwad and Uttara Kannada three each and, Bijapur and Gadag two legislators each.

In the Hyderabad-Karnataka region Gulbarga and Bidar districts had sent four legislators each from the BJP while Raichur and Koppal had contributed two each, taking the number of BJP legislators from North Karnataka to 45.

But going by the pattern of BJP's ticket distribution so far in these districts, Veerashaivas/Lingayats have bagged the lion's share. The party has announced candidates for over 70 constituencies in North Karnataka.

Barring the constituencies reserved for Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes, others have candidates belonging to the Veerashaiva/Lingayat community. The party has so far given tickets to three Brahmins, two Marathas and one candidate belonging to Uppar community.

While Shrikant Kulkarni (Jamkhandi), Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri (Sirsi) and Shashibhushan Hegde (Kumta) are Brahmins, Suresh Latur (Arabhavi in Belgaum district) belongs to Uppar community.

Vijayendra Jadhav (Haliyal) and Prahlad Remani (Khanapur) are of the Maratha community. The party had no alternative in Sirsi and Kumta as all the parties are forced to give tickets to Havyak Brahmins who dominate the constituency.

Veerashiava/Lingayat candidates dominate the party's list in Belgaum, Bagalkot, Bijapur, Dharwad, Gadag and Haveri districts. Kurubas and Jains constitute a good chunk of the voters in Belgaum district and the party has not given representation to these communities in the lists announced so far.

Only K K Mendegar of the Kuruba community has been nominated for the Babaleshwar in Bijapur district.

Similarly, other minority communities which have traditionally supported the BJP feel let down by the party.

"While Congress is making an all-out effort to ensure a judicious representation to all, the BJP has failed on the social engineering front, going by the present list of candidates. It has sent a wrong message," said a party leader.

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