KARNATAKA

Congress faces BJP, BSP challenge

Muralidhara Khajane

Caste calculations hold sway with parties in Chamarajanagar district

MYSORE: The Congress, which is fighting the Assembly elections on the stability plank, is facing stiff opposition from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Chamarajanagar district. The district now has Hanur, Kollegala, Chamarajanagar and Gundlupet constituencies, after the dissolution of Santemarahalli (Reserved) constituency.

Despite serious issues haunting the district, including the agrarian crisis and delay in implementation of Kabini II stage, no political party is serious about them, as they strongly believe in caste calculations.

Congress, which was once a force to reckon with in this district, has lost its control. Though Congress is trying to regain its hold, it is facing stiff opposition from the BJP and the BSP.

Chamarajanagar

The Congress, Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha (KCVP) and the BJP are in a triangular contest in Chamarajanagar constituency. Former Minister M. Mahadev (BJP), Vatal Nagaraj (KCVP), C. Puttarangashetty (Congress), M. Shivakumar (JD-S), G.M. Gadkar (BSP), A.M. Mahesh Prabhu (Sarvodaya Karnataka Party), are in the fray. While the BJP is banking on dominant Lingayat community votes, Naika community is also supporting the BJP because of its gesture of fielding its community candidate Kellamballi Somanaika in Hanur constituency. Congress is counting on its traditional vote bank along with Uppara, another dominant community. Vatal Nagaraj is also banking on this Uppara community and the Dalit votes.

Gundlupet

It is a direct fight between the Congress and the BJP here. Former Minister H.S. Mahadev Prasad (Congress), C.S. Niranajankumar (BJP), K. Shivabasappa (JD-S) and VenkataramanaShetty (BSP) are locking horns in Gundlupet constituency.

The Congress is hoping to draw the Dalit and Kuruba community votes because of the influence of Siddaramaiah and Srinivasa Prasad. BJP candidate C.S. Niranjan Kumar is banking on Lingayat community votes.

Hanur

Though the fight is between the Congress and BSP in Hanur, Congress rebel candidate Ponnachi Mahadevaswamy is posing a challenge to both the parties.

Kollegal

Because of the multi-cornered contest and presence of cine director Mahender of the BJP, Kollegal has attained key-constituency status. R. Dhruvanarayan of Congress, sitting MLA Balaraj (Independent) and BSP candidate N. Mahesh are in the fray. Entry of Siddaramaih and Sreenivasa Prasad is likely to help Mr. Dhruvanarayan this time.

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