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In Hassan, direct fight likely between JD(S) and BJP

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Mysuru, Apr 14: The Hassan Lok Sabha constituency is set to witness an unprecedented poll battle between former prime minister Deve Gowda's grandson Prajwal Revanna and three-time Arkalgud MLA Manju.

File photo of Manju and Deve Gowda

Hassan, the vokkaliga bastion has remained unflinchingly loyal to JD(S) since 1991 barring the 1999 elections where Gowda lost to former minister G Puttaswamy Gowda (Cong) by over 1.47 lakh votes soon after he stepped down as prime minister.

Now, with the Congress and JD(S) having come together "formally", victory for the coalition candidate is meant to be a calkwalk.

However, upset over Prajwal's candidature, a few senior leaders have resolved to remain neutral, while many shifted their loyalty to the BJP. While that of the JD(S)-Congress is a formal alliance, an informal alliance has taken shape between the BJP and disgruntled Congress workers.

Also Read With caste playing a key factor, keen contest on in Karnataka

According to the reports, Hassan has 2 lakh Kuruba voters, who are expected take avenge Siddarammaih's debacle in the assembly elections. With SC/STs always voting in favour of the Congress, they are now finding it difficult to accept a JD(S) candidate.

The 3 lakh Lingayat voters have been owing their allegiance to the BJP for the last 15 years after community leader BS Yeddyurappa became the deputy CM in 2006 and later the CM in 2008.

In 2014 elections, Deve Gowda won with a majority of around one lakh votes. Gowda polled 5,09,841 votes against Manju (Congress) 4,09,378 votes and C H Vijayashankar (BJP) 1,65,688 votes. Although Manju lost to him, he did reduce the octogenarian leader's victory margin from 2.91 lakh in 2009 to just around one lakh.

In the past elections, whenever BJP candidates secured an impressive vote share in the constituency, it was Gowda who walked away with the seat. Whether the BJP wins or loses in the battle, it's certain to widen its base in the constituency.

Out of 17 elections so far, the Congress has won nine times (1951, 1957, 1962, 1971, 1974, 1980, 1984, 1989, 1999); Janata Dal thrice (1991, 1996, 1998); Janata Dal (Secular) thrice (2004, 2009, 2014) and Swatantra Party and Bharatiya Lok Dal once each in 1967 and 1977 respectively.

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