Voters in Belgaum, who have been keenly watching campaigns and assessing the candidature of potential candidates all these days, remained silent but welcomed all those contestants who knocked at their doors. But, as elsewhere, many voters here are still confused. Their dilemma is in the fact that they want a change but are not finding a potential alternative to the two national parties — the BJP and the Congress.
Presently, both the constituencies of the district are held by BJP.
While Suresh C. Angadi is looking forward to strike a hat-trick in Belgaum, Ramesh V. Katti is fighting hard to return to the Lok Sabha for the second term. However, Mr. Angadi, who had a cake-walk in the two previous elections, is facing a tough contest and will be challenged by a woman candidate fielded by the Congress, Laxmi R. Hebbalkar.
Adding to Mr. Angadi’s discomfort is a strong anti-incumbency against him for his alleged non-performance and failure to bring in any major developmental works to the district in the past 10 years. However, political observers here, say that only the Modi factor could help the BJP candidates.
Similarly, Mr. Katti is challenged by Minister for Sugar, Muzarai and Small Scale Industries Prakash B. Hukkeri for the second time.
Mr. Hukkeri had contested in 2009 and lost. This time too he was reluctant to contest.Sources close to him told The Hindu that Mr. Hukkeri obliged after an assurance from the party high command saying that he would continue to be Minister if he could not make it to the parliament in this election.
Interestingly, both the BJP and Congress in Chikkodi have common spoilsports in Srimanth Patil of JD(S) and Prataprao Alagowda Patil of NCP. In Belgaum, Mr. Angadi and Ms. Hebbalkar are locked in a straight fight.
The JD(S) candidate Nasir Bagwan dramatically retired from the fray and joined the Congress.
There totally 12 contestants in Chikkodi and 15 in Belgaum, including that of AAP, in both the parliamentary constituencies.