Bypolls: In Yellapur, a homecoming for Hebbar

A. Shivaram Hebbar, who switched loyalties from the Congress to the BJP and is contesting the bypoll from the low-profile Yellapur constituency, is not a new face in the saffron party. Having roots in the Sangh Parivar, Mr. Hebbar was president of the Uttara Kannada BJP unit twice during the 1990s. He joined the Congress later. Contesting the December 5 bypoll means a homecoming of sorts for him.

He was among the 17 MLAs of the Congress and JD(S) who resigned to bring down the previous coalition government. Mr. Hebbar, who was a two-time Congress MLA from Yellapur, is facing polls for the fourth time from the constituency.

Yellapur Assembly segment was carved out of the erstwhile Ankola constituency in Uttara Kannada district during delimitation in 2008. Yellapur and Mundgod taluks and Banavasi hobli from Sirsi taluk fall under Yellapur constituency.

Mr. Hebbar contested the first election from Yellapur as Congress candidate in 2008; he lost to V.S. Patil of the BJP. He managed to defeat the BJP, with Mr. Patil again as its candidate, in 2013 and 2018.

No ripples

The homecoming of Mr. Hebbar is not creating any major ripples of disgruntlement in the local BJP unit as Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has nominated Mr. Patil as chairman of North Western Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC), Hubballi. But Mr. Patil’s son, Bapugouda Patil, joined the Congress recently. Sources said as the son is not yet an influential leader, it is unlikely to damage Mr. Hebbar’s campaign.

Even the arrest of his son Vivek Hebbar by the Central Bureau of Investigation in 2013 in connection with an iron ore export scam appears to have had no negative impact on the senior Hebbar’s career, as he was re-elected to the Assembly in 2018, though he won by a thin margin of 1,483 votes.

Anant Kumar Hegde, BJP MP from Uttara Kannada, is campaigning for Mr. Hebbar now.

Deshpande’s campaign

The Congress has fielded Bhimanna Naik, president of Uttara Kannada District Congress Committee and a close confidant of senior leader R.V. Deshpande, against Mr. Hebbar. Mr. Naik, who hails from Banavasi area, has made Sirsi his area of operations while Mr. Hebbar hails from Yellapur.

Mr. Deshpande, who had stayed away from active campaign for the Congress–JD(S) combine candidate (Anand Asnotikar) during the Lok Sabha elections, has involved himself in canvassing for Mr. Naik.

Mr. Naik had contested last year’s Assembly election from Sirsi constituency and lost to the BJP candidate.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 12:56:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/bypolls-in-yellapur-a-homecoming-for-hebbar/article30117877.ece

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