KARNATAKA

Lingayats hold key in Tumkur constituencies

Staff Correspondent



Lingayats will influence outcome in nine of the 11 constituencies in the district

Gayatri Devi (Congress) is the only woman seriously competing with male candidates



TUMKUR: Congress candidates are facing Bharatiya Janata Party opponents in five of the eleven Assembly constituencies in Tumkur district, which go to polls on May 10.

Janata Dal (Secular) candidates are posing a tough fight against Congress candidates in four constituencies and the Janata Dal (United) candidate in one. A Congress candidate will fight the party’s rebel candidate in Pavagada segment.

BJP leader and former Minister S. Shivanna is seeking re-election from Tumkur City. The Congress has fielded Rafiq Ahmed Shaik, principal of an engineering college in Tumkur City, against Mr. Shivanna. With a doctoral degree from Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, Dr. Shaik is doing post-doctoral fellowship with a foreign university. His entry into politics came as a pleasant surprise to many. The Lingayat community, the Muslims, the Dalits and Backward Classes have teamed up behind Dr. Shaik to dislodge Mr. Shivanna.

In spite of this, Mr. Shivanna is confident of winning the seat. His assessment is based on the “sympathy wave in favour of the BJP”.

H. Ningappa, Janata Dal (S) candidate, is facing Arakere Rudresh of the Congress in the Tumkur Rural constituency. While Mr. Ningappa is a silent achiever, Mr. Rudresh is an acknowledged rural development champion. J.C. Madhuswamy of Janata Dal (U) is seeking re-election from CN Halli segment. The new face, N. Renuka Prasad of the Congress is a strong contender. It is a straight fight between K. Shadakshari (Congress) and B.C. Nagesh (BJP) in Tiptur constituency.

Dominance

In Tumkur Rural, CN Halli and Tiptur constituencies, Lingayats are predominant and Congress has fielded candidates from that community.

Actor Jaggesh (Congress) is locking horns with M.D. Lakshminarayan (BJP) in Turuvekere. In Kunigal, the prospects of D. Nagarajaiah (JD-S) retaining his seat is dimmed due to the presence of his brother D. Krishna Kumar (BJP) who is in the fray. Congress candidate B.B. Ramaswamy Gowda is gaining an edge. Congress Working Committee member G. Parameshwar is contesting from Koratagere. He represented Madhugiri for three terms.

K.N. Rajanna (Congress) is facing a hard-hitting fight against D.C. Gowrishankar (JD-S). The latter is the son of C. Channigappa, former Minister. Mr.Rajanna is a champion of backward classes and has dared to take on the Vokkaligas in their own bastion.

Former Minister T.B. Jayachandra (Congress) is pitted against another former Minister B. Satyanarayana (JD-S) in Sira. A campaigner of irrigation and rural water supply, Mr. Jayachandra has endeared himself to the people living along the State border with Andhra Pradesh. The Congress nominated G. Shivakumar, a Yadava (Gollas) youth to contest the Gubbi Assembly seat. Virtually all the Golla community leaders are campaigning for him. S.R. Srinivas Vasu (JD-S), also a youth, is, however, is giving him a stiff fight.

P.A. Gayatri Devi (Congress) is the only woman seriously competing with male candidates in the district. She is contesting from Pavagada. She is, however, facing a formidable fight with her party’s rebel candidate P. Venkataravanappa. Lingayats hold the key in nine of the eleven constituencies in the district. With both Congress and BJP leaders frequenting the Veerashaiva maths, the Lingayat swamijis have seemingly taken a neutral stand.



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