Karnataka Poll Watch 2 : Bijapur, Gulbarga, Raichur

Political Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network

April 11, 2014


Assembly segments – 8
Total Electorate – 15,78,391
Sitting MP – Ramesh Jigajinagi (BJP)
Candidate in the fray – 14 

14 candidates are in the fray in Bijapur constituency which is reserved for SC community after delimitation.  But it is going to witness a fierce battle between traditional rivals – the BJP and Congress.  It is going to be a repeat of 2009 where BJP candidate Ramesh Jigajinagi had defeated Congress candidate,  former cricketer  Prakash Rathod by a margin of about 44,000 votes.  Sudhakar Kanamadi of BSP and AAP candidate Sridhar Narayankar are also in the fray.  

The Congress, however, is bubbling with renewed verve riding on the 2013 elections where it won 7 out of the 8 assembly segments.   This has rejuvenated the party rank and file which is working hard to neutralize the might of the BJP.  As is the case in most northern constituencies, in Bijapur too it is the Lingayats and Muslims who are going to play a crucial role in deciding the winner.  There are also sizeable number of Dalits and Lambani voters also and their preference will be vital.     

While Jigajinagi belongs to the Dalit community,  Rathod belongs to the Lambani community. 

Therefore, the loyalty of Lingayats and Muslims will also be the crucial factor in deciding the fate of the rival candidates.  The constituency has 95,062 new voters whose loyalty might go either way largely because of the anti-incumbency factor against the current MP.  While people are generally unhappy with the sitting MP the BJP hopes the ‘Modi   factor’ to work in favor of its candidate and see him through.

Ramesh Jigajinagi  and Prakash Rathod

Rathod’s proximity to the top Congress leaders in the party   has made BJP’s task all the more difficult.  For Rathod the entire focus of his electioneering is to make up for the margin of loss of 42, 404 votes he suffered in the 2009 elections.  Having lost two times earlier, Rathod hopes to get lucky the third time.  After all, politics is a different ‘ball game’.

Whether the Lingayat community shows its clout by supporting the BJP remains to be seen in view of the return of the prodigal son of the BJP – B S   Yeddyurappa, a major leader of the community.   The presence of remaining 12 candidates may not portend any danger except for the presence of JD (S) candidate former IAS officer K Shivaram who is expected to take away a major chunk of Chalavadi votes.  Chalavadis are a major section among the SC and that might harm the Congress.


Assembly segments – 8
Total Electorate: 16,62,659
Sitting MP :  Mallikarjuna Kharge (Congress)
Candidates in the fray:  8

Gulbarga has remained faithful to the Congress all these years.  Despite this the  results of Gulbarga Lok Sabha constituency will be keenly watched as Aam Aurat candidate  B T Lalita Naik  is pitted against two heavyweights -  Mallikharjuna Kharge of Congress and Revu Naik Belamagi of BJP.   For Lalitha who was a non-entity in JD (S) for long, AAP has come as a savior which once again brought her into political limelight from wilderness.  Though Revu Naik had lost against Kharge in 2009 by over 13, 000 votes and had also lost the assembly elections in 2013 these defeats have not dampened his spirits. 

Mallikharjuna Kharge ,  B T Lalita Naik  and Revu Naik

An interesting factor concerning this constituency is that Kharge who contested his first Lok Sabha elections from here in 2009, has not tasted defeat in the last 45 years of his political career.   He had earlier contested from Gurmitkal nine times in a row and the Congress is all the more determined to ensure the victory of its candidate this time also to maintain his winning streak..

The Congress is once again in a buoyant mood as it had given a severe thrashing to the BJP in 2013 assembly elections by winning 7 of the eight assembly seats. But complacency has no place  in the Congress camp in view of the fact that the vote share of the rival parties  - BJP and Congress is almost the same after  the merger of Karnataka Lok Paksha and BSR congress with  the BJP.  

Kharge, however, has undertaken extensive tour of the constituency way ahead of his rivals visiting over 1800 villages.  Not to be outdone, 69 year old Lalitha Naik who belongs to the Lambani community has also undertaken extensive tour of the constituency.  But she is dubbed as an outsider by her rivals, which may have a bearing on the electorate.

Dalits account for nearly 20 per cent of the electorate in Gulbarga.  Though they are traditionally congress supporters the Congress decision to consider Siddaramaigh over Kharge to be Karnataka’s Chief Minister after the 2013 assemby elections  has angered the community.  But the community may not exhibit  its annoyance by casting their votes to a rival political party.   In the present set-up it looks as though the Kharge Juggernaut is unstoppable despite the “Aam Aurat” factor.   Will Gulbarga spring a surprise?  Wait and watch. 


Assembly segments – 8
Total number of electorate: 16,37,814
Sitting MP – S Pakkirappa (BJP)
Candidates in the fray – 11

Raichur constituency which is reserved for the Scheduled Tribes is witnessing a tough battle between rival party candidates of Congress and BJP who not only belong to the same village but are also relatives belonging to the dominant Nayak community.   In this fight between the two rivals belonging to the same family, JD (S) candidate is viewed as an outsider.  The two rival contenders are Shivanagouda Nayak of the BJP and B V Nayak of the Congress and they are fighting the elections on personal attacks ignoring local issues.   

Shivanagouda Nayak  and B V Naik

B V Naik had fought against Shivanagouda Nayak from Devadurga assembly constituency and had lost in 2013.   As the two relatives are meeting once again and B V Naik wants to avenge the defeat he suffered, which is not going to be an easy task.   

The Congress candidate and the Congress party seem to be on the back foot here as it has chosen B V Nayak who is four-time MP Venkatesh Nayak’s son.   This has angered the Congress rank and file because of the dismal track record of Venkatesh Nayak who failed to undertake any developmental oriented work in his constituency. People in the constituency cannot recall even a single developmental work initiated by him.  Both parties have chosen candidates belonging to the prominent Nayak Community with an eye on the 3.18 lakh votes of the community.  The constituency also has about 2.27 Lingayat votes in addition to 2.27 minority and about 2 lakh Kuruba votes.

BJP candidate Shivanagouda   who got  elected on a JD(S) ticket in 2008 had succumbed to the lure of ‘operation lotus’ and got re-elected on BJP ticket.  As a reward he was made a minister in the Yeddyurappa government and since then has fortified his place in the constituency.  Sitting BJP MP S Pakirappa’s lackluster tenure has been a dampener to the BJP candidate.   But Shivanagouda is a quick learner who has mastered the art of politicking and that has given the BJP an edge over its rival.  

Though JD (S) has a sizeable support base in the constituency it has bungled in allotting the ticket.  Former minister Raja Amaresh was a strong contender for the ticket and his name was announced as the party candidate.  But Amaresh ditched JD (S) to join the Congress party at the nick of time giving a big blow to the JD(S).  The party finally fielded retired government officer D B Nayak from Belgaum.  Being a virtual outsider Nayak is not either with the constituency or with the votes.    

Raja Thimmappa Nayak of BSP and Aam Aadmi Party candidate Bhimaraya Jaradbandi are also in the fray.   But it is going to be a one-to-one fight between the two relatives on their ability to convince the voters to vote for them. 


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Comment on this article

  • j.anata, Mangaluru/ Bengaluru

    Fri, Apr 11 2014

    These three are critical & important seats in the Hyderabad - Karnataka region & needs to see better development by both the central & state governments. However at Gulbarga, it will be Kharge no doubt & that too with a huge margin. All his efforts to placate Congress with programs at panchayat level will help him. At Bijapur, Jigajinagi will have to sweat it out, but still would make it since he has a clean record & from the erstwhile Lok Shakti stable. At Bijapur however it is a Mama - Bhanja contest of sorts & here I feel that Shivanagouda has the edge due to youth & clean support from new voters

    DisAgree [5] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • vinayak prabhu, mangalore

    Fri, Apr 11 2014

    Return of bsr congress and kjp plus modi wave. Can anyone stop bjp in raichur?

    DisAgree [17] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • vinayak prabhu, mangalore

    Fri, Apr 11 2014

    I asked my gulberga friend. All hindus talking about modi. But kharge got special status and ESI hospital. Huge one. But still people can dump him for modiji..but muslims have huge presence. So 50 : 50

    DisAgree [11] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • vinayak prabhu, mangalore

    Fri, Apr 11 2014

    I had been bijapur to work as medical officer. Last year all were talking jd s and congress. all in caste lines. Now lingayat talks modi,lambani talk modi,upper caste modi and dalits too.yes present mp dint do any work. But all care about modi. No one knows who is prakash rathod here

    DisAgree [11] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dinesh Poojary, Kundapura/Bengaluru

    Fri, Apr 11 2014

    Gulbarga is 50:50.

    Rest 2 BJP win is sure.

    DisAgree [25] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • flavian dsouza, chik/banaglore

    Fri, Apr 11 2014

    3-0 FOR CONGRESS TO START WITH . Congress.already crossed 50 in the 100 odd elections held last week

    DisAgree [24] Agree [21] Reply Report Abuse

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