Shikaripur has over the years become a B S Yeddyurappa bastion. This year too the equations are unlikely to change and the BJP's chief ministerial candidate appears to be in with a very good chance.
The Congress took a lot of its followers by surprise when it announced a weak candidate for Shikaripur in Shivamogga district. The Congress picked G B Malatesh, a block Congress president and municipality member.
While this has made the battle easier for Yeddyurappa, analysts say that this is not the only factor that would ensure a win for the BJP leader. Yeddyurappa has over the years nurtured the constituency.
The roads in the constituency are an example of this. Back in 2008 during a campaign trail, we were welcomed to one lane road. No two vehicles could pass by each other unless one went off the road.
During our next visit to the constituency in 2009, the entire scenario had changed. It was the 2009 Lok Sabha election campaign and by then Yeddyurappa had become Chief Minister of Karnataka. The roads were wide and the constituency had a brand new feel to it.
In 2013, the tone of the campaign for the assembly elections was on a lower note. The BJP was in shambles, and Yeddyurappa had quit the party to float the KJP. There was a huge amount of sympathy for Yeddyurappa and his followers felt he had been wronged by the party. With caste equations always suiting Yeddyurappa, he managed to the win the elections with ease. The sympathy factor only added to his strength.
This year around he is back in the BJP and is the CM candidate of the party once again. The battle once again looks easy for Yeddyurappa. The constituency is Lingayat dominated and they tend to back Yeddyurappa like is the case in the other parts of the state.
Many in the local Congress were taken aback after the party decided to field Malatesh who is not a well-known face in the constituency. One Congress worker described the decision as unfortunate and said that the party has given Yeddyurappa a walk over.
The local Congress was backing Mahalingappa, who had defeated Yeddyurappa in this constituency in 1999. The other names in contention were that of Nagarada Mahadevappa and Shanthaveerappa Gowda who had recently returned to the BJP. The Congress was hoping that the party would get Gowda back and field him against Yeddyurappa.
|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|