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Battle Shivamogga: For Eshwarappa to win, why Yeddyurappa holds the key

By Vicky Nanjappa
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    Shivamogga formerly known as Shimoga is a district to watch out for. There are several big-wigs contesting from the 8 constituencies including Byandoor contesting and it promises to be an exciting fight.

    B S Yeddyurappa

    All eyes would be on these constituencies since it also houses Shikharipura, which is B S Yeddyurappa's constituency. In this context, it would be interesting to look at the Shivamogga constituency from where K S Eswharappa of the BJP would be contesting.

    After much deliberation, he was handed a ticket by the BJP, much to the disliking of Rudregowda, a Yeddyurappa loyalist. In the 2013 elections, Eswharappa had finished third while Rudregowda came second on a KJP ticket. The constituency was however won by Prasannakumar of the Congress.

    The final tally was- Prasannakumar, 39,355, Rudregowda, 39,077 and Eshwarapa, 33,462. It is clear that the margin was thin between the first and second place. Eshwarappa who ended up in third place in 2013 could also blame it on the BJP-KJP split and the negative campaign that reportedly Yeddyurappa undertook. It is an open secret that there is no great bonhomie between Yeddyurappa and Eshwarappa.

    Interestingly poised battle:

    This year the battle is interestingly poised. In terms of votes, the Brahmins and Lingayats hold the key. Back in 2013, the Brahmins had completely backed Prasanna Kumar of the Congress. This year around too they are likely to back him. At a recent meeting, the Brahmins had said that they should back a candidate from their own community.

    Also Read | In poll bound Karnataka, bookies bet on Rs 800 crore as odds are stacked in BJP's favour

    The next factor is the Lingayat votes. This seems to be divided as the candidate from the JD(S), Niranjan Kumar is a Lingayat. Looking at these combinations, it appears as though Eswharappa is on a weak footing for now. Eshwarappa would be hoping for the 2008 magic where the Brahmins and Lingayats voted in large numbers for the BJP. That he would know was due to the Yeddyurappa factor.

    The other issue that would daunt Eshwarappa is Rudregowda. A Yeddyurappa loyalist, he had quit the BJP and joined the KJP in 2013. Yeddyurappa was hoping that he could get Rudregowda a ticket, but the party leadership decided against it. His followers are upset that he was denied a ticket and also cite the 2013 election result in which he lost by hardly around 300 votes.

    Yeddyurappa would hold the key:

    The Yeddyurappa factor holds the key in Shivamogga. If there is one leader who can overcome all the troubles for the BJP, it is Yeddyurappa. An appeal by him could get the Lingayat and Brahmin votes in favour of the BJP.

    Further, he is the one who can control the Rudregowda factor. If Rudregowda's supporters decided not to work for the party, then Eshwarappa is staring at trouble. However political analysts say that this year it would be a close fight. They, however, add that for Eshwarappa to emerge victoriously, Yeddyurappa would have to play a strong role. Further, Eshwarappa would also benefit slightly from the fact that the party is united this time.

    What will be the outcome in this prestigious constituency? One would have to wait till May 15.

    Karnataka Assembly Election dates
    Date of notification April 17
    Last date to file nominations April 24
    Last date to withdraw nominations April 27
    Date of polling May 12
    Date of counting May 15

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