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Karnataka polls: The 'star constituencies' to look for

By Vicky Nanjappa
Last updated on: April 09, 2013 15:35 IST
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Vicky Nanjappa lists the most keenly followed constituencies in the upcoming Karnataka assembly elections.

A lot of drama is expected during the upcoming Karnataka assembly elections. Interestingly, the 224-member assembly that will to polls on May 5, would not witness a straightforward battle only between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress. The Janata Dal-Secular and the newly-formed Karnataka Janata Party are looking to eat into the vote shares of the two main parties.

There are some constituencies which would be followed keenly and have been termed as ‘star constituencies’.

Rajajinagar: The main constituency to watch out for would be the Rajajinagar constituency in Bangalore where Karnataka Law Minister Suresh Kumar (BJP) would take on his former colleague Shobha Karandlage of the KJP. The contest is perceived as former chief minister and KJP supremo B S Yeddyurappa’s revenge battle. Reports have also suggested a secret pact between the Congress and the KJP to defeat the BJP.

Hubli-Dharwad Central: This is another hotly contested seat where Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar would face the poll heat. Although the rest of the parties have not made it very clear as to who would oppose Shettar, the Congress is all set to float former top cop Shankar Bidri. The name of Bidri is likely to be announced late on Tuesday evening.

The KJP too would name a candidate and this would be to ensure that the Lingayat vote bank, on which Shettar is heavily dependant, is divided.

Shettar, who is confident of a win, would face a daunting task. Firstly Yeddyurappa’s would go all out to take away the Lingayat vote bank from him. Secondly if Bidri, another Lingayat, is named by the Congress he would take away some more Lingayat votes. However, the advantage is still with Shettar as the people feel if the BJP does get a majority they would have a CM from their constituency.

Soraba: The Soraba constituency will witness an interesting battle between two brothers and their uncle. The two sons of late S Bangarappa, former chief minister of Karnataka, would battle against each other for this seat.

While Kumar Bangarappa would be the Congress candidate, his brother Madhu is contesting on a JD-S ticket. Also in the fray is their uncle H Halappa who is contesting on a KJP ticket.

The last time the battle was similar and Halappa had won on a BJP ticket. This time around too he has an advantage, but the change in party could do a bit of damage giving a bit of an advantage to Kumar Bangarappa, who was been a minister in the S M Krishna government.

Shikaripur: This is the home town and constituency of B S Yeddyurappa. It is expected to be a straight forward win for the former CM of Karnataka who broke away from the BJP and floated his new party, the KJP.

Shimoga: This is the constituency from where K S Eshwarappa, the deputy CM of Karnataka, would contest from. He probably faces his worst battle as Yeddyurappa has sworn to defeat him.

Eshwarappa has a lot of negatives against him. Many in Shimoga view him as the villain who brought down Yeddyurappa through his constant complaining to Delhi. Moreover, there is a secret pact between the Congress and the KJP to defeat Eshwarappa.

Ramnagar: This is the constituency of H D Kumaraswamy, former chief minister of Karnataka. The JD-S big boss is confident of a win, but he would battle anti-incumbency, many of his opponents say. However, the scales are titled in his favour.

Channapatana: The wife of Kumaraswamy, Anitha Kumaraswamy, will be contesting on a JD-S ticket from this seat. It is a new constituency for her, but she is hoping to ride on the JD-S wave on these belts to secure her chances.

Padmanabhanagar: Here Karnataka Home Minister R Ashok would contest on a BJP ticket. Although his prospects look strong, he will face some opposition from the JD-S which is looking to break into his Vokkaliga vote bank.

Varuna: This is the constituency of Congress bigwig Siddaramaiah who many believe will be the CM if the Congress comes to power. He has a great following in his constituency and it looks difficult for any other party to break into his chances.

Bellary: The mining land of Karnataka has been more in the bad side of the news for the past several years. Both the BJP and the Congress have weak candidates in this area against former BJP man Sriramulu. If one were to go by the results of the urban body elections, it appears that the Congress has an upper hand. However, Sriramulu is putting in all his resources and even trying to forge an alliance with the JD-S to retain this seat.

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Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore