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Congress’s 1 vs BJP’s 2, why Badami is the battle to watch out for

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On May 15 when votes are counted in Karnataka, all eyes would be on the Badami constituency. It is probably one of the most high profile fights in the Karnataka Assembly Elections.

The fight is between the number one of the Congress and number two of the BJP. It is a Siddaramaiah vs Sriramulu battle and the result promises to be a very interesting one. While Sriramulu faces the test of the Kuruba votes here, for Siddaramaiah his decision to recommend minority status for Lingayats will be put to test here.

Siddharamaiah and Amit Shah

Sriramulu is backing heavily on the votes of the Valmikis and Lingayats. He is a popular leader among the Valmikis as he belongs to the community. The Lingayats have traditionally voted for the BJP. However there is a chance of the Lingayat votes splitting in favour of the JD(S) which has fielded a Panchamasali Lingayat.

What is interesting is that Badami is not the core constituency for both Siddaramaiah and Sriramulu. Both are contesting on other seats and this has left the voter confused. Will Siddaramaiah retain Badami if he wins in Chamundeshwari or will Sriramulu latch on to this seat if he emerges victorious in Molakmuru.

When Siddaramaiah went out campaigning at the constituency, the voters had a pre-condition for him. They wanted him to retain this seat if he won both. Sriramulu too has faced similar demands, but both leaders have not been non-committal on the issue.

Siddaramaiah is aware that in order to win here the Lingayat votes play a crucial factor. He has been visiting temples and mutts during his campaign and it is to be seen if this factor would work in his favour. The ST vote could be tricky as both the leaders hold considerable amount of sway.

During the campaign trails, Siddaramaiah has focused extensively on his famed Anna Bhagya scheme. Many voters are impressed with it as they felt that it has given them a lot of benefit. Sriramulu on the other hands prides himself on the Robin Hood image. His knack of attracting the voters is known to all. He organises mass marriages, pays off electricity and water bills of those in distress.

Looking at the way in which the voter is divided, it becomes clear that no community can be ignored. In Badami there are around 45,000 Kurubas. The next biggest community are the Lingayats with a population of 38,000. There are 36,000 SC/STs while the Muslims account for 18,000.

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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