Bangalore: It is Family Inc. driven elections in Karnataka, with kith and kin carrying well known first names or popular last names jumping into the poll fray.
The BJP, which has been crying hoarse over the dynastic rule of the Congress, has itself done a ‘dynastic turnaround’ with chief minister B S Yeddyurappa ensuring a ticket for his beloved son B Y Raghavendra in Shimoga.
The scion is pitted against veteran and four time MP Bangarappa who has re-joined the Congress in yet another homecoming in his political saga of repeated party hoppings.
It might be a case of the sheer superlative with blood running ‘thickest’ when in politics, as father Yeddyurappa personally oversees the election campaign of his son.
For Yeddyurappa, it is time to pay back as the former SP leader Bangarappa had, in a tacit understanding with the Congress, worked out a calculated plan to inflict a crushing defeat in Shikaripura in the last assembly polls. But the plan backfired with Yeddyurappa beating his contender hollow.
Keen to take a sweet revenge on his political foe, the Karnataka chief minister has spared no efforts to ensure that the Yeddyurappa Inc inflicts its second blow on Bangarappa.
Bangarappa has complained to the Election Commission that inducements had been flowing in Shimoga and violation of code of conduct taken place to an extent that it could seriously impact the outcome of the poll, a charge emphatically dismissed by Yeddyurappa as "baseless" and creation by Congress leaders to taint BJP.
In Bangalore Rural constituency, it is Gowda Inc. that is hoping to avenge its one-time humiliating defeat at the hands of a woman and political greenhorn as well.
H D Kumaraswamy, JDS chief Deve Gowda’s son, and party’s state unit president, has blown the bugle against the Congress candidate Tejaswani, who in 2004 had pulled down the famous nameplate of the Gowda clan, by routing the senior Gowda in erstwhile Kanakapura constituency, leaving him in an embarrassingly third spot in the poll race that year.
Determined to restore the glory of the Gowda clan, Kumaraswamy has spared no efforts to win this battle which has turned into a huge prestige issue as a father-son duo, if beaten by a woman and the same one, could face a huge political embarrassment.
In Hassan, the senior Gowda has chosen to enter the fray against BJP’S K H Hanumegowda and Congress’s B Shivaram, both political adversaries of the Gowda family.
In Chikkodi, it is the Katti Inc. that is trying to make its presence felt. Ramesh Katti, the brother of Minister for Horticulture Umesh Katti, has secured a ticket from the BJP.
Interestingly, for Umesh Katti, it is a case of earning a earning an extraordinary bonus (a party ticket for his brother) for crossing over from the JDS to the BJP, immediately after Yeddyurappa was sworn in as chief minister, in addition to himself earning a ministerial berth some time back.
The minister has found that the defection dividends continues to flow: Umesh managed to secure a party ticket for his brother from Chikkodi despite local BJP leaders eyeing for the seat and unhappy over an outsider grabbing it.
The BJP had agreed to oblige the Katti Inc. as Ramesh Katti followed in his brother’s footsteps and quit the Congress and embraced the saffron party only on the condition that he would be given ticket to contest Lok Sabha elections from Chikkodi.
In Bellary, the clout of the famous Reddy Inc. and their associate Health Minister B Sriramulu was evidently felt when the BJP selected J Shanti (Sriramulu’s sister) to represent the party from the mining-rich constituency.
Shanti who is the lone woman candiate to be fielded by the party, observers feel, was chosen primarily due to her family lineage and the clout of the Bellary Reddy brothers who have reportedly have a strong say in all major cabinet decisions.
In Bidar parliamentary constituency, another defector, Gurupadappa Nagamarapalli who joined the BJP quitting the Congress has been given a ticket to contest. Gurupadappa had been elected on a Congress ticket in 2008 assembly polls from Bidar Assembly segment.
Nagmarpalli, keen that the seat remained with the family despite the defection, has managed to get the ticket for his son Suryakanth Nagamarapalli for the Bidar assembly bye poll.
As the Gowdas, the Kattis, the Nagamarapallis contest polls, it is clear that all of them want to ensure that it is case of the vote kitty being ‘all in the Family.’