The contest in the Tumkur Lok Sabha constituency has turned out to be a prestigious one for the three major parties.
Ensuring Congress candidate S.P. Muddahanume Gowda’s win here is crucial for both Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president G. Parameshwara, who hails from the district, and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. A win here will also enhance the prestige of Janata Dal (Secular) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda because the party has fielded its State unit president A. Krishnappa. G.S. Basavaraj of the BJP, the incumbent MP, is seeking re-election.
The Tumkur Lok Sabha constituency comprises eight Assembly segments. While the JD(S) is representing Gubbi, Koratagere, Turuvekere and Chikkanayakanahalli, the ruling Congress has won from Tumkur City, Madhugiri and Tiptur. The BJP represents Tumkur Rural constituency.
Mr. Basavaraj, who is riding on ‘Modi wave’, speaks of getting irrigation expert G.S. Paramashivaiah’s report implemented. He is a four-time MP. He has won three times as a Congress candidate and once as a BJP nominee.
Mr. Basavaraj had identified himself with the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa when the latter quit the BJP and joined the Karnataka Janata Paksha.
Though Mr. Basavaraj’s candidature was opposed by leaders of the district unit, including the former Minister S. Shivanna, he managed to get ticket thanks to Mr. Yeddyurappa’s influence.
State secretary of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha B.S. Devaraj alleges that Mr. Basavaraj won the last four elections by promising to bring the Netravati waters to Tumkur district but to no avail.
Mr. Basavaraj is seeking votes in the name of BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and is assuring people of establishing an industrial hub in Tumkur.
Mr. Muddahanume Gowda was a two-time Congress MLA from Kunigal before he joined the JD(S). He was fielded by the JD(S) in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls but he lost to Mr. Basavaraj by a margin of 21,445 votes.
In the 2013 Assembly elections, JD(S) withdrew him from Kunigal in the last minute and gave ticket to D. Nagarajaiah. Following this, Mr. Muddahanume Gowda returned to the Congress. This incident helped him gain the sympathy of people.
Mr. Parameshwara, who lost the Assembly election in Koratagere, is striving for his candidate’s win. He is seeking votes for Mr. Muddahanume Gowda by assuring people of bringing Central funds for development, and is harping on the achievements of the United Progressive Alliance government and populist schemes of the State government.
The JD(S) has strong roots in the district and has proved it by winning in six of the 11 Assembly segments.
Mr. Krishnappa, who was with the Congress earlier, is being dubbed as an “outsider”. Among his promises are reviving the sick HMT unit in Tumkur city and completion of irrigation of projects.