From gaffes, sadhus and unsure CM hopefuls, the other face of K’taka polls

Hindustan Times takes a look at the lighter side of the fiercely contested Karnataka elections.

bengaluru Updated: Apr 24, 2018 23:58 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Battle for Karnataka,Karnataka election,BJP
BJP president Amit Shah at a meeting in Bengaluru.(PTI/File Photo)

With a sea of high-profile political leaders cutting across party and regional lines descending on Karnataka to campaign for the assembly elections on May 12, it is no doubt turning out to be a high-voltage contest of sorts. But amid the fierce contest, here’s something to tickle the funny bone.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s gaffe in Karnataka

Shivraj Singh Chauhan

BS Sriramulu is being billed as the BJP’s tribal face in Karnataka. Naturally, some of the party’s stalwarts, including its CM candidate BS Yeddyurappa and Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan accompanied him when he filed his nomination from the Molkalmuru seat in Chitradurga district. Also present was Sriramulu’s close friend and confidant Gali Janardhana Reddy, a controversial former BJP minister and mining baron, who spent three years in jail over illegal mining cases and is currently out on bail. Reddy is managing Sriramulu’s campaign at present.

After filing the nomination, all the leaders trooped out to address the party faithful. Speaking on the occasion, Chouhan committed a gaffe when he cited mining scam as an example of corruption by the current Siddaramaiah-led Congress government. While Janardhana Reddy sitting on the dais with him managed to maintain a blasé look, some in the crowd tittered.

Seer with passion of bikes and karate in fray

Despite many gurus and seers publicly expressing their wish to contest elections and try to emulate the success of, say, a Yogi Adityanth, major parties in Karnataka, which have actively wooed them for endorsements, have steered clear from handing them tickets. The only seer to finally file papers and contest elections is Lakshmivara Teertha, the pontiff of Shiroor Mutt, one of the eight powerful mutts in Udupi. Lakshmivara is contesting elections as an independent after failing to convince the Bharatiya Janata Party to give him a ticket from Udupi. The BJP has fielded K Raghupati Bhat, a former MLA, from the party as its candidate.

A colourful Swami who is known for his passion of bikes, karate, swimming and playing musical instruments, Lakshmivara will be taking on sitting MLA Pramod Madhwaraj of the Congress, who is minister of state for youth services, fisheries and animal husbandry. Ironically, Madhwaraj is a devotee of Lakshmivara Teertha and the Shiroor Mutt. The fight between the disciple and his spiritual mentor will be watched with keen interest.

CMs who took on dual battles

Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah (PTI)

With CM Siddaramaiah filing his nomination from Badami apart from Chamundeshwari it is clear that he will be fighting from two seats. Ever since R Gundu Rao the then sitting Congress CM was defeated in a giant-slaying act by Janata Party’s Jeevanjaya in 1983 from Sowmarapet, senior politicians have tried not to take chances.

Siddaramaiah is not the first CM to contest from two seats. Two other former chief ministers of Karnataka, Deve Gowda and S Bangarappa have fought from two constituencies at the same time. In fact Deve Gowda has done it twice. In 1985, Deve Gowda fought from Holenarasipura and Sathanur. He won from both constituencies. However when Deve Gowda repeated this by contesting again from both seats in 1989, he was defeated in both. In 2008, Karnataka’s 12th CM, S Bangarappa contested from both Soraba and Shikaripura. While he won Soraba handsomely, he was defeated in Shikaripura by B S Yeddyurappa who went on to become the first BJP CM in a southern state. The JD(S) CM nominee H D Kumaraswamy who is also a former CM is also contesting from two seats, Channapatna and Ramnagara.

First Published: Apr 24, 2018 23:58 IST