KARNATAKA

Cong., BJP find going tough in Hassan

HASSAN, APRIL 24. Will the Janata Dal (Secular) regain its political base in Hassan district? This is the question uppermost in the minds of the people. The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, which won four Assembly seats each in the 1999 elections, are finding the going tough. The Janata Dal (S), which lost in all the eight Assembly seats, has improved its position following the defection of four senior Congress leaders to its side.

Of the eight Assembly constituencies in the district, there will be a triangular fight in three constituencies. In the other constituencies, it will be a straight fight between the Janata Dal (S) and Congress. In some of the constituencies, rebels are posing a problem to official candidates. The entry of the former Prime Minister, H.D. Deve Gowda, in the fray has boosted the confidence of the Janata Dal (Secular) cadre.

There appears to be a triangular fight in Arsikere constituency where the former Congress MLA, G.V. Siddappa, is seeking re-election. While the BJP candidate A.S. Basavaraju, is contesting for the fifth time, it is the third election for the Janata Dal (S) candidate, K.P. Prabhu Kumar. The Sadara sub-caste of the Lingayat community which wields enormous clout in the constituency may favour Mr. Siddappa as he belongs to that community.

While Mr. Basavaraju is riding on the "Vajpayee wave," Mr. Prabhu Kumar is eying the minority and backward class votes. The number of voters in the constituency is 1,57,442.

In the Arkalgud constituency, it will be a straight fight between the former MLAs, A. Manju and A.T. Ramaswamy. Mr. Manju is contesting on the Congress ticket while Mr. Ramaswamy is the Janata Dal (S) candidate. H.N. Purushottam, son of H.N. Nanje Gowda, former Minister, is in the fray as a Janata Dal (United) candidate. The number of voters in the constituency is 1,45,647.

It is a tri-cornered fight in the Alur-Sakleshpur constituency, where the former MLA, B.B. Shivappa, is seeking his third term. The Janata Dal (S) candidate is H.S. Vishwanath. B.D. Basavaraju, who fought the last parliamentary election on the BJP ticket, is in the fray as an

independent. The BJP, which denied the ticket to him, has fielded E.S. Chandrashekar, a follower of the former Chief Minister, S. Bangarappa. It is the Lingayat votes that are crucial for the candidates.

The Belur (reserved) constituency will witness a triangular fight. The former MLAs, D. Mallesh of the Congress, H.K. Kumaraswamy of the Janata Dal (S), and Gangadhara Bhovi of the BJP are in the fray, along with other party candidates.

The defection of the former MP, Y.N. Rudresh Gowda, may help Mr. Mallesh. Lingayats may favour BJP this time. Mr. Kumaraswamy is banking on the charisma of Mr. Deve Gowda.

It may not be a cakewalk for B. Shivaram of the Congress who represented the Gandsi Assembly constituency for three successive terms. The Janata Dal (S) candidate and ZP member, K. Shivalinge Gowda, is giving a stiff fight to him. The former MLA, E. Nanje Gowda, is also in the fray.

It looks like a triangular fight in Hassan Assembly constituency. Members of the Vokkaliga sub-caste, "Dasa Gowda", matter here.

The former MLAs, H.S. Prakash of the Janata Dal (S), Kari Gowda of the BJP, and K.M. Raje Gowda of the Congress are in the fray. The defection of K.H. Hanume Gowda to the Janata Dal (S) from the Congress may help Mr. Prakash. Mr. Kari Gowda, a one-time associate of Mr. Deve Gowda, is banking on the votes of another Vokkaliga sub-caste, "Mullu Gowda."

In the Holenarsipur Assembly Constituency, it is a straight between the Congress and the Janata Dal (S).

The former MP, G. Puttaswamy Gowda, is taking on H.D. Revanna, former Minister and son of Mr. Deve Gowda. A. Dodde Gowda who defeated Mr. Revanna with a big margin in 1999, is contesting on the BJP ticket after he was denied the Congress ticket.

Though it looks like a triangular contest in this constituency, in reality it is a straight fight between the Janata Dal (S) and Congress. Though Vokkaligas are dominant, the Lingayat and Kuruba votes play a decisive role in the constituency.

The anti-incumbency factor and his quarrel with Mr. Dodde Gowda may prove costly for Mr. Puttaswamy Gowda. The constituency has 1,58,422 voters.

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