Gaddigoudar likely from BJP, Congress yet to pick candidate
The incumbent MP of Bagalkot Lok Sabha constituency, P.C. Gaddigoudar, has emerged the strongest contender among ticket aspirants in the Bharatiya Janata Party for the coming elections. Given his standing in public life and popularity, his re-nomination is expected to be a certainty.
Though the party is yet to announce its official candidate for the coming elections, it is generally believed in Bagalkot that Mr. Gaddigoudar is the only choice for the BJP, more so after he won two successive elections. If Mr. Gaddigoudar secures the party ticket again and also registers victory, he would be the first BJP MP of Bagalkot district to record a hat-trick.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that the former Minister, Murugesh R. Nirani, is reportedly making efforts to secure ticket with the help of his mentor and former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa. His name has been shortlisted, but it is highly unlikely that he can beat the claim of Mr. Gaddigoudar.
With reference to the Congress, indications are that the party is going through a tough time in identifying a candidate since there are far too many aspirants keen on contesting. Prominent among them is the former Minister, Ajaykumar Sarnaik, who lost to Mr. Gaddigoudar in the last elections to the Lok Sabha in 2009.
The other aspirants include Devaraj Patil, a Kuruba leader of the district, and District Congress president M.D. Soudagar. Both of them are reportedly trying to lobby for the ticket with party leaders.
It should be noted that with no other political party having a major presence in Bagalkot, the electoral battle will largely be a direct contest between the Congress and the BJP. Looking at their respective strengths, the BJP is expected to rely on the clean image of Mr. Gaddigoudar and the palpable Modi factor in the constituency.
Being the ruling party in the State, the Congress believes that it has an edge, and this is reflected by the number of aspirants seeking Congress ticket. Of the eight Legislative Assembly constituencies in the Bagalkot Lok Sabha constituency, the Congress has seven elected members. Besides, the district also has two Ministers — Umashree and S.R. Patil. All these add to the strength of the Congress in this constituency.