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Karnataka polls: Who will bag Kalaburgi, the Tur Bowl of the state

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It is known as the Tur Bowl of Karnataka. The battle at Kalaburgi will be a tough one and for the Congress to repeat its 2013 performance is not exactly going to be an easy one.

Karnataka polls: Who will bag Kalaburgi, the Tur Bowl of the state

There is a lot at stake for the BJP which put up a dismal showing in 2013 after it could manage just one of the nine seats. B S Yeddyurappa who had formed the KJP that year managed to win just one seat. The Congress on the other hand bagged 7 seats.

An undivided Kalaburgi including the Yadgir district has always been a strong bastion for the Congress. It was after the emergence of the Janata Parivar that the Congress took a backseat in this region in the 1980s.

Former Chief Minister of Karnataka, Veerendra Patil held sway in this region. After him the Hyderabad-Karnataka region has largely been dominated by Mallikarjuna Kharge and Dharam Singh of the Congress.

There are two key issues before the Congress. Dharam Singh is no more and one would need to see what sort of an impact it would have over the party in the Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018. There are many within the Congress who had expressed reservations over the sudden rise of Kharge's son, Priyank. Dynasty politics had become an issue in this region and hence there is a section that is unlikely to back Kharge.

The return of the BJP:

It would be safe to say that the BJP was nothing but a mess in 2013. Yeddyurappa had walked out, Sriramulu was away and the party was split three ways. The return of Yeddyurappa and his loyalists to the BJP will have a big impact in Kalaburgi, political analysts say. He is will consolidate the Lingayat votes and this will play a key role in the upcoming polls.

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The BJP hopes that its prospects would be aided by a couple of factors ail the Congress. Both Dharam Singh and Qamrul Islam are no more. They held sway over a large number of voters in this region. The Congress is expected to miss both the leaders dearly.

The BJP would also look to capitalise on the banner of revolt within the Congress. Senior leaders like Malikayya Guttedar, the late Islam, Dr Malakaraddy and Baburao Chinchansur had revolted against the elevation of Priyank Kharge.

Within the Congress:

The late Qamrul Islam was a popular leader. Winning Gulbarga north was a cake walk for the Congress. He would with ease bag all the Muslim votes in the region thus making him a clear winner.

However Islam's style of politics was not to nurture a second rung leader. He never allowed that and the Congress would find it hard to replace him. There is already a ticket tussle on. Many want Islam's wife to get a ticket. However Kharge is likely to favour the Chairman of the North-West Road Transport Corporation Chairman, Ilyas Bhagwan.

The other worry is that the JD(S) is likely to field Nasir Hussain. In 2013 he had contested on a KJP ticket, but failed to make even a small dent on Islam. This meant that he held no sway over the Muslim voter. This time around he senses an opportunity to bag the Muslim votes in the absence of Islam.

The Congress would also look to do some course correction in the Chittapur constituency. There are allegations that Priyank is never accessible. Complaints from party workers about his autocratic style of functioning too have made matters worse. There are the likes of former MLA Vishwanath Patil Hebbal who had protested against Priyank and left the party. They are likely to make the going tough for the Congress.

It would be an interesting region to watch out for. It would be a hot contest both in terms of a fight as well as the soaring mercury in April when it touches 40 degrees.

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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