Haveri Lok Sabha constituency: A fight between former Chief Minister and son of a former MLA

The seat where BJP has won successively in the last four elections is considered to be a “safe bet” and that seems to be the reason for Mr. Bommai trying his luck from here in Lok Sabha election

Updated - May 06, 2024 12:10 pm IST

Published - May 05, 2024 09:49 am IST - HUBBALLI

Former CM Basavaraj Bommai, BJP candidate from the Haveri-Gadag Lok Sabha constituency.

Former CM Basavaraj Bommai, BJP candidate from the Haveri-Gadag Lok Sabha constituency. | Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR

Haveri Lok Sabha constituency, where Basavaraj Bommai, a four-time MLA and former Chief Minister is attempting to enter the Lok Sabha, is all set for a straight fight with Anandswamy Gaddadevaramath, the son of a former Congress MLA trying to check him.

Haveri finds a prominent place in the State’s political history because it was here that Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP) took birth under the leadership of former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa. But things changed subsequently with Mr. Yediyurappa returning to the BJP and now his son B.Y. Vijayendra is the party’s State president.

Change of name

Earlier known as Dharwad South Lok Sabha constituency, it was later changed to Haveri after the delimitation exercise in 2008, which drastically changed the demographical composition of the constituency. The constituency lost the Shiggaon and Kundagol Assembly segments and gained the Gadag, Ron and Shirahatti segments, which also changed the political plans of the parties.

Two districts Haveri and Gadag, which face problems of drought and flood at regular intervals, are part of the constituency. Dwindling farm revenue, delayed irrigation projects, lack of infrastructure still plague the constituency.

Delimitation impact

For long the constituency was mostly represented by Muslim candidates because of the demographically strong Muslim community, but post delimitation the equations have changed. Congress which failed successively by fielding Muslim candidates, shifted to non-Muslim candidates last time and this time it has chosen a candidate from the numerically strong Veerashaiva Lingayat community to which the BJP candidate too belongs.

The seat where BJP has won successively in the last four elections is considered to be a “safe bet” and that seems to be the reason for Mr. Bommai trying his luck from here in Lok Sabha election. As the incumbent MP Shivakumar Udasi who won thrice, chose to keep away from electoral politics after his father’s demise, Mr. Bommai has got a chance.

After initial dissidence, Mr. Bommai has managed to take everyone into confidence but is apprehensive of an undercurrent against him. The reason is that despite being district-in-charge Minister his focus was his constituency Shiggaon and there is a general feeling among the voters of other Assembly segments in Haveri district that he didn’t do much for them. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and other leaders have raised questions about his contribution to the district during the campaign.

Resurgent Congress

While Mr. Bommai has been campaigning extensively, trying to cover as many places as possible and he has the support of several BJP leaders, for the first time in recent years, The Congress is seen countering it with an aggressive campaign with its candidate supported by district-in-charge ministers in both Haveri and Gadag.

Numerically, Congress is in a stronger position in the constituency as it has MLAs in seven assembly segments, while Mr Bommai is the lone BJP MLA in the constituency. However, Mr. Bommai’s Assembly constituency (Shiggaon) is not part of the Lok Sabha constituency. Bommai is trying to emphasise on “Modi guarantee” and is also banking on his work as Chief Minister.

On the other hand Congress candidate Mr. Gaddadevaramath is heavily dependent on the five “guarantee” schemes of the Karnataka government and the clout of the sitting MLAs in the constituency. There are a total of 14 candidates in the fray but the fight is between the candidates of the two national parties.

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