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Home > India > News > Report

Gowda uses Bangarappa to stump BJP

Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore | April 29, 2008 10:59 IST

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Former Karnataka Chief Minister and BJP's candidate for the top post, B S Yeddyurappa has a tough task on hand. Not only will he have to fight former chief minister and Samajwadi Party leader S Bangarappa in the elections, but will also have to deal with the fact that Janata Dal-S will be backing his rival.

It's Yeddyurappa vs Bangarappa

The JD-S has sprung a surprise by announcing that it will not field a candidate from the Shikaripura constituency and would support Bangarappa instead. H D Deve Gowda announced that Bangarappa was a good friend of his and hence no candidate from the JD-S will be fielded against him. However, there is no question of an alliance with the SP, he told media persons.

In Shikaripura constituency at Shimoga, the target is B S Yeddyurappa. Both Congress and the JD-S is well aware of Bangarappa's record when it comes to assembly elections. The former chief minister lost assembly elections just once from the Sagar constituency on a Karnataka Vikas Party ticket. However, he had also filed his nomination from the Saurabh constituency, which he managed to win.

Bangarappa has won seven elections straight from the Saurabh constituency in Shimoga since 1967. Bangarappa has been a four-time winner on a Congress ticket while he has won the polls twice on a Praja Shakti Party ticket and once as a SP candidate.

Bangarappa is contesting outside the Saurabh constituency for the first time. However, he will bank on the fact that he managed to take a 11,000 vote lead from Shikaripura when he contested the Lok Sabha elections in 2004 from the Shimoga constituency.

He has been a four time member of Parliament from Shimoga. He has won twice on a Congress ticket and one time each on a Bharatiya Janata Party and SP ticket respectively.

For Bangarappa, the added advantages are that the JD-S will not be fielding a candidate and moreover the Congress has pitched Navilesh Chandrappa, a political lightweight, from the Shikaripura constituency.

Congress insiders said if there is a truce between them and Bangarappa, then they too are ready to withdraw Chandrappa's candidature.

Yeddyurappa, who hopes to become chief minister, will have a lot of calculating to do. First and foremost, all parties are out to get him either fielding weak candidates or no candidates at all. Moreover, he will have to keep in mind Bangarappa's unblemished record in the Karnataka assembly polls.

Yeddyurappa has had mixed luck in this constituency. He has not won the elections continuously from the Shikaripura constituency. In 1999, he lost the elections and was later elected as a member of the legislative council.

Yeddyurappa will be banking heavily on the Lingayats who are the single largest community in Shikaripura. However, the Vokkaligas, Idigas and the minorities put together outnumber the Lingayats.

It is a known fact that Yeddyurappa is relying largely on the Lingayat votes as he too belongs to the same community. However, Yeddyurappa will also have in the mind that in Karnataka a person who has been projected as CM candidate before the elections has never lost.

Meanwhile, there is also talk that Yeddyurappa will be filing his nomination from the Koppal constituency as well. The BJP this time will be riding high on Yeddyurappa's candidature and also the budget presented by him as finance minister. With all parties gearing up to ensure his defeat the BJP does not want to take any chances.

However, no final decision has been taken in this regard as several BJP leaders in New Delhi feel that a second nomination would not give the right signal and the BJP may seem desperate.