Chamarajanagar Lok Sabha constituency: It’s a battle of prestige for Siddaramaiah in this backward region where his Assembly segment lies

April 16, 2024 09:27 pm | Updated April 17, 2024 12:43 pm IST - MYSURU

Sunil Bose, Congress candidate for Chamarajanagar Lok Sabha constituency.

Sunil Bose, Congress candidate for Chamarajanagar Lok Sabha constituency. | Photo Credit:

Like the Mysuru Lok Sabha seat, Chamarajanagar (Reserved) constituency is a prestigious one for Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and winning both is seen as important for his leadership within the Congress, as the BJP and JD(S) alliance has launched a no-holds-barred battle. The Varuna Assembly constituency that the Chief Minister represents falls in the Chamarajanagar Lok Sabha constituency.

While the Congress is leaving no stone unturned to wrest the seat from the BJP, the saffron party is waging a determined fight to retain the seat that it won for the first time in 2019. Mr. Siddaramaiah has already campaigned twice for Congress nominee Sunil Bose.

Wooing Prasad

Incumbent BJP MP V. Srinivas Prasad is not in the poll scene as he has announced retirement from electoral politics after being in public life for nearly five decades. Interestingly, both Mr. Siddaramaiah and BJP veteran B.S. Yediyurappa have visited him, ostensibly to ask about his health. Mr. Prasad has not publicly announced his support for any candidate. His two sons-in-law had lobbied for the BJP ticket but the party did not consider them.

Among several ticket aspirants, the Congress chose Mr. Bose, son of Minister for Social Welfare H.C. Mahadevappa, after many rounds of consultations. Though Dr. Mahadevappa was the party’s first choice, he refused to enter the poll fray and instead lobbied for his son. So it is also a battle of prestige for Dr. Mahadevappa, who has been tasked to get his son elected. T. Narasipur Assembly constituency that Dr. Mahadevappa represents also comes under the Chamarajanagar Lok Sabha constituency.

In a surprise move, the BJP gave ticket to the former Kollegal MLA S. Balaraj. His candidature stunned many partymen as there were several strong aspirants, including Mr. Prasad’s sons-in-law.

This time, the BSP’s Krishnamurthy has thrown his hat in the poll ring, hoping to make an impact. In the last election, the BSP candidate garnered over 87,000 votes.

BJP’s first victory

Considered a Congress stronghold, the BJP wrested the constituency from the party in 2019, with Mr. Prasad — who was forced to return to electoral politics under pressure after his rout in the byelection to the Nanjangud Assembly seat in 2017 — winning the seat. He won in a closely fought battle. Mr. Prasad defeated the then-incumbent MP R. Dhruvanarayan by a slim margin.

S. Balaraj, BJP candidate for Chamarajanagar Lok Sabha constituency.

S. Balaraj, BJP candidate for Chamarajanagar Lok Sabha constituency. | Photo Credit:

Seven out of the eight Assembly seats here are held by the ruling Congress. Kollegal, Chamarajanagar, Gundlupet, and Hanur (all in Chamarajanagar district) and H.D. Kote, Nanjangud, Varuna, and T. Narasipur (in Mysuru district) are part of the Chamarajanagar Lok Sabha constituency. While the BJP holds none, Hanur Assembly segment is held by the JD(S).

The Congress and the BJP-JD(S) alliance are engaged in a political slugfest over drought relief as this dry and backward region is in the grip of an acute drought. An upbeat Mr. Bose is banking on the Congress guarantee schemes and hoping to end the saffron party’s term by recapturing the seat. A soft-spoken Mr. Balaraj is relying on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image. He claims to have been “rooted to the constituency” despite remaining out of power for long and says he understands the constituency like no other.

Dalits and Lingayats hold key

Dalits and Lingayats are in sizeable numbers in the constituency, followed by the backward classes, minorities, and tribal people. The BJP is eyeing Lingayat votes besides the Scheduled Tribes and a section of backward classes. The party is appealing for support for “forming a stable government and giving a third term to Mr. Modi.”

The Congress, on the other hand, is confident of garnering Dalit, OBC, and minority votes, besides those of a section of Lingayats and Vokkaligas.

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