Shivamogga Lok Sabha constituency | Will the ‘rebel’ candidate impact the election outcome?

Shivamogga, known for Jog Falls, will see a Lok Sabha election contest between BJP, Congress, and a rebel Independent candidates with family legacies.

April 28, 2024 09:52 pm | Updated April 30, 2024 07:01 pm IST - Shivamogga

B.Y. Raghavendra

B.Y. Raghavendra | Photo Credit:

Shivamogga, a place known for lush green landscapes and tourist attractions including the world-famous Jog Falls, is witnessing an interesting contest in the current Lok Sabha elections. Besides candidates from two national parties — the BJP and the Congress — a former BJP Minister is in the fray as an Independent candidate.

Braving the hot summer, all three candidates — B.Y. Raghavendra of the BJP, Geetha Shivarajkumar of the Congress, and K.S. Eshwarappa, an Independent — are campaigning extensively to woo voters spread over eight Assembly constituencies.

Two families’ hold fort

In the last three decades, members of the families of two the former Chief Ministers represented the constituency in Parliament, except for once in 1998. The former Chief Minister late S. Bangarappa won four times from different parties. Since 2009, it has been the turn of B.S. Yediyurappa’s family. B.Y. Raghavendra became an MP by defeating Bangarappa in 2009. Later in 2014, Mr. Yediyurappa contested and defeated Bangarappa’s daughter, Geetha Shivarajkumar. In the 2018 byelection and 2019 general election, the contest was between Mr. Raghavendra and Bangarappa’s son, Madhu Bangarappa.

Geetha Shivarajkumar

Geetha Shivarajkumar | Photo Credit:

This time the fight is again between the two families — Mr. Raghavendra and Ms. Geetha Shivarajkumar. While the BJP is banking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image and development work in the constituency, the Congress candidate is campaigning on the five guarantee schemes that the Congress government implemented in the State and the legacy of Bangarappa. The BJP has the support of a good network of workers across the constituency. Mr. Modi also campaigned for the party candidate in the constituency. Given the big victory margins in the last election, Mr. Raghavendra says he is confident of getting re-elected. In the Assembly elections held in 2023, the BJP secured 5.81 lakh votes in the eight Assembly seats. The Congress secured 5.04 lakh votes.

The Congress campaign is being handled by Minister for School Education Madhu Bangarappa, who is the brother of the candidate. Ms. Geetha Shivarajkumar is accompanied by her husband and actor Shivarajkumar. He has been participating in roadshows and election campaigns.

Impact of Eshwarappa

K.S. Eshwarappa

K.S. Eshwarappa | Photo Credit:

Besides the two, Mr. Eshwarappa is in the fray as an Independent candidate. He decided to contest after his son K.E. Kantesh was denied the BJP ticket to contest for the Haveri Lok Sabha seat. Mr. Eshwarappa, holding Mr. Yediyurappa responsible for the denial of the ticket, decided to contest against Mr. Yediyurappa’s son in Shivamogga. He has hopes to divide the Hindutva vote and ensure Mr. Raghavendra is defeated.

Mr. Eshwarappa has been campaigning displaying Mr. Modi’s photo prominently, saying he is with the ideology of the Prime Minister and against the “dynastic” politics of Mr. Yediyurappa. His contest has made the election for the Shivamogga seat interesting. If he succeeds in securing a good number of votes from traditional BJP supporters, the Congress candidate will benefit. But, if Mr. Eshwarappa himself, being a backward class leader, woos the votes of the OBC block, the traditional Congress supporters, his purpose of the contest will be lost.

Many issues at play

Several people’s issues are coming back to life as the elections near. For instance, hundreds of families who parted with their land and moved to distant places to allow the construction of a dam across the Sharavati in 1960s have raised the issue of their rehabilitation which was never done satisfactorily.

In rural parts, significant income comes from areca of high quality grown here. However, in recent years, areca farms have been badly hit by leaf-spot disease and yellow-leaf disease. On the other hand, Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Ltd. and Mysore Paper Mills of Bhadravati, which contributed to the district economy earlier, are in a bad State now.

In recent months, the cases of Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD) have increased, leaving people in villages close to forest areas, worried. Even after deaths due to the KFD, the issue seldom finds space in political debates. Besides that, many villages located in the hilly areas, have been facing telephone network issues. A few villagers are contemplating boycotting the polls for the delay in getting issue resolved.

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