Davangere Lok Sabha constituency: Whoever wins, this seat will get its first woman MP

The contest in the Lok Sabha constituency is being seen as a ‘battle of wives’ this time

May 04, 2024 09:39 pm | Updated May 06, 2024 12:02 pm IST - HUBBALLI

Prabha Mallikarjun, Congress candidate for Davanagere Lok Sabha seat

Prabha Mallikarjun, Congress candidate for Davanagere Lok Sabha seat | Photo Credit:

The Davangere Lok Sabha constituency, which will go to the polls on May 7, is all set to witness the “battle of wives” of two influential leaders from rival families in the district. This election is also set to create history, as whoever among these two wins, Davangere will get its first woman member of Parliament.

The Davangere Lok Sabha constituency saw its first election in 1977 and ever since both Congress and BJP have registered six wins each. The constituency was a Congress bastion initially and was won by the BJP for the first time in 1996. Although the Congress won it back in 1998, it failed to retain the seat in 1999 and ever since the BJP has won it successively.

Two high-profile families

Interestingly, election to the Davangere seat has been a battle between two influential families of the former Minister Shamanur Shivashankarappa and incumbent MP G.M. Siddeshwar since 1996. Both families belong to the demographically strong Lingayat Sadar (Sadu) community in the district. Mr. Siddeshwar’s father, G. Mallikarjunappa, won the seat for the BJP in 1996. While in 1998 Mr. Shivashankarappa won it for the Congress, Mr. Mallikarjunappa snatched it back in 1999.

Gayatri Siddeshwar, BJP candidate for Davanagere Lok Sabha seat

Gayatri Siddeshwar, BJP candidate for Davanagere Lok Sabha seat | Photo Credit:

After his father’s demise, Mr. Siddeshwar contested as the BJP candidate in 2004 and won against Mr. Shivashankarappa’s son S.S. Mallikarjun, who is now a Minister in the Siddaramaiah’s Cabinet. It was a close fight between the two again in 2009 and 2014 and Mr. Siddeshwar managed to retain his seat. In 2019, however, the Shamanur family supported H.B. Manjappa’s candidature from the Congress, but Mr. Siddeshwar won against him by a margin of 1,69,702 votes.

Wives take over

This time, however, it is a fight between the two families with the wives taking over the mantle. Instead of Mr. Siddeshwar, who served as a Minister under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP has fielded his wife, Gayatri Siddeshwar, and she is being challenged by Prabha Mallikarjun, wife of district in-charge Minister Mr. Mallikarjun.

Interestingly, there are three other women in the fray, two from the Muslim community and one with a name similar to that of the BJP candidate, whose husband had contested earlier against Mr. Siddeshwar.

Both the candidates of the national parties were not so active politically until their candidature was announced. However, they are toiling hard under the scorching sun, making all-out effort to woo voters.

Both BJP and Congress faced dissidence over the choice of candidates. While the BJP managed to quell the dissidence and placate the leaders, the Congress failed, resulting in the candidature of G.B. Vinaykumar from the Kuruba community as an Independent. According to political pundits, Mr. Vinaykumar is likely to eat into the vote share of both the national parties as he reportedly has a following among young voters. In the wake of speculations, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had to make it clear during an election rally that he has no support for the young leader from his community. In the six Assembly segments in the Lok Sabha constituency, the Congress has won four and has the support of an Independent MLA while the BJP has one.

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