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In Karnataka’s battle royale, sons of 3 former CMs fight for one seat

In Shivamogga Lok Sabha seat, the BJP has fielded BY Raghavendra, son of state BJP president BS Yeddyurappa, a former CM. The Congress-JD(S) coalition has nominated Madhu Bangarappa, son of former CM S Bangarappa, while JD(U) candidate Mahima Patel’s father JH Patel was also CM.

Karnataka Elections 2018 Updated: Oct 23, 2018 15:02 IST
Venkatesha Babu
Venkatesha Babu
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Karnataka,Karnataka by-election,Shivamogga
The Congress-JD(S) coalition govt in Karnataka faces a test as three Lok Sabha and two assembly seats go to polls on November 3.(PTI/File Photo)

Karnataka recently witnessed an unusual sight. After twelve long years, former prime minister Deve Gowda and his one-time protégé turned bête noire former chief minister Siddaramaiah came together on a single platform to appeal for unity among the workers of the coalition parties Janata Dal (Secular) and Congress.

This was something which had not happened even when the coalition government had been sworn-in.

What is the reason for the new found bonhomie?

The coalition government is facing its first major electoral test and at stake are the three Lok Sabha seats and two assembly seats which are going for by-polls on November 3.

While all seats are important, it is the Shivamogga Lok Sabha seat which has attracted the maximum attention and turned into a prestige battle because of the personalities involved in the contest. All the three main contenders are children of former chief ministers of Karnataka.

While BY Raghavendra is the son of BJP’s state president BS Yeddyurappa who is a former CM and is currently the leader of opposition in the assembly, the Congress-JD(S) coalition partners have nominated Madhu Bangarappa the son of former CM S Bangarappa, while the Janata Dal (United)’s candidate is Mahima Patel whose father JH Patel was also the CM of the state. It is a prestige fight between the three families with the main contest being between the BJP and the coalition government’s candidate.

Raghavendra had represented the Shivamogga LS constitutency between 2009-2014 but had vacated it for his father. However, Yeddyurappa who contested the 2018 assembly polls and had a short-lived tenure as the chief minister of the state again, had to resign his parliamentary seat, leading to polls.

In an earlier interaction with HT, Yeddyurappa had expressed dissatisfaction at the polls being held for the Lok Sabha seats now pointing out that ‘those who win will not be MP’s for even six months and at the best can attend one session of parliament.’ Given the inevitability of having to retain the family’s pocket borough though he has had to field his son.

However, the coalition partners seem to have decided to give a tough fight by fielding Madhu Bangarappa whose father also was not only a former CM of the state, but also represented the same Lok Sabha seat four times.

S Prakash, spokesperson of BJP alleges “Governance has come to a standstill as the entire cabinet is in election mode. Inspite of this, we will win easily in Shivamogga.”

The joint candidate of the coalition government Madhu Bangarappa also is equally convinced about his chances of victory ‘based on the good work done by the coalition under the leadership of chief minister Kumaraswamy.’

The chief minister himself has pointed out that the coalition partners won more number of votes collectively than BJP in the recent assembly polls in Shivamogga.Mahima Patel of JD(U) whose father J H Patel was the 15th chief minister of the state, however, feels that voters of the constituency are looking for something fresh and would be willing to give his candidature a chance.

“My aim is to cleanse the political system and therefore will appeal to the hearts and minds of voters.”

Noted political analyst Mahadev Prakash though says that while the constituency has attracted attention because sons of three former chief ministers are contesting the polls “it is going to be a direct fight between the BJP’s Raghavendra and JD(S)-Congress Madhu Bangarappa.

It is a prestige battle for all involved. For Yeddyurappa, it is about retaining his home base, while for the coalition partners it is a test on whether they can transfer votes to one another.” Results day will indicate which scion of a former CM will be left smiling.

First Published: Oct 23, 2018 08:12 IST