Can BJP retain Chamarajanagar which it won for first time since Independence?

Bengaluru, Apr 14 (IANS): After sweeping 25 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka in 2019, the BJP was most complacent about the result of the Chamarajanagar Lok Sabha constituency as the saffron party had won it for the first time since Independence.

However, in the changed political scenario, it has become a matter of prestige for the party to retain the seat this time.

Following the announcement of retirement by Srinivas Prasad, the BJP has fielded S. Balaraj, a close confidante of former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa. Sunil Bose, son of Minister for Social Welfare H.C. Mahadevappa is the Congress candidate. Mahadevappa is a close associate of CM Siddaramaiah..

The win in 2019 meant that the large chunk of votes of the oppressed classes, especially the Dalit vote bank, had tilted towards the BJP in the south Karnataka region which was a long cherished goal of the party. Sitting BJP MP and powerful Dalit leader Srinivas Prasad’s popularity and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s wave after the Balakot strike created history. However, the margin of victory was onlty 1,817 votes.

The parliamentary constituency is all set for a big fight and a close contest. CM Siddaramaiah has taken it as a personal challenge to ensure victory in the seat. He has been camping in the constituency for the last two days and reaching out to voters.

On the other hand, the BJP has rescheduled the venue of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rally from Mangaluru to Mysuru city. The party is hoping to create a wave in favour of the BJP in the Chamarajanagar, Mysuru-Kodagu and Mandya Lok Sabha seats.

Chamarajanagar district is named after the popular Mysuru king Chamaraja Wadiyar. The seat came into existence in 1962 and it was a part of the Mysuru Lok Sabha seat before. the Janata Dal had won it twice in 1996 and 1998.

The Janata Dal (U) had won it in 1999 and the JD (S) had emerged victorious in 2004. The Congress won the rest of the general elections. Late Dhruvanarayan represented the seat for the Congress party in 2009 and 2014.

The Chamarajanagar constituency has about 17 lac voters. Dalits comprise a large chunk with 4.60 lakh votes and the Congress is banking on it. The Congress is confident of getting the 1.50 lac Kuruba community votes also. CM Siddaramaiah hails from the Kuruba community.

There are 3.90 lac votes of the Lingayat community and the BJP is hopeful of garnering their majority votes. The parties are also vying to get the ST (2 lac) and other votes too. The BJP is hopeful of breaking the Dalit vote bank.

The district is considered one of the most backward in the state. The Congress leaders maintain that their guarantees will fetch them a large chunk of votes.

The seat comprises H.D. Kote, Nanjangud, Varuna, T. Narasipur, Hanur, Kollegal, Chamarajanagar and Gundlupet assembly constituencies. The Congress has won all the seats barring Hanur held by the JD (S).

BJP candidate Balaraj is a former MLA and started his career with the Congress party. He won as an independent candidate in the 2004 assembly polls. Balaraj’s victory is crucial for former CM B.S. Yediyurappa and his son, state party president B.Y. Vijayendra as the party had denied a ticket to two son-in-laws of the veteran BJP leader, sitting MP Srinivas Prasad, who were ticket aspirants. Balaraj had joined Yediyurappa’s KJP party, which he had founded after quitting the BJP earlier.

The victory of Sunil Bose, the Congress candidate is crucial for both CM Siddaramaiah and Bose’s father Mahadevappa who belongs to CM Siddaramaiah camp and openly supported the idea of the creation of more posts of Dy CM in the state against D.K. Shivakumar who is presently holding the Dy CM's post.






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