Lok Sabha election 2019: Big names in the fray in Karnataka in third phase
More than 24 billion voters will decide the fortunes of 282 candidates, including Congress’ Mallikarjun Kharge and working president of the grand old party’s state unit Eshwar Khandre, Union ministers Ananth Kumar Hegde and Ramesh Jigajinagi among others.Updated: Apr 23, 2019 18:49 IST
The BJP will face the combined force of the Congress and Janata Dal(United) on Tuesday’s polling in the west coast and northern regions of Karnataka in the third phase of Lok Sabha election 2019.
More than 24 billion voters will decide the fortunes of 282 candidates, including Congress’ Mallikarjun Kharge and working president of the grand old party’s state unit Eshwar Khandre, Union ministers Ananth Kumar Hegde and Ramesh Jigajinagi and the son of Karnataka BJP president and former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa BY Raghavendra, among others.
The Lingayat belt of Chikkodi, Belgaum, Bagalkot, Bijapur, Gulbarga, Raichur, Bidar, Koppal, Bellary, Haveri, Dharwad, Uttara Kannada, Davanagere and Shimoga are the parliamentary constituencies where polling will be held.
Karnataka sends 28 members to the Lok Sabha. The first phase of polling was held on April 18 on 14 seats. Votes will be counted on May 23.
During the last Lok Sabha election, the BJP had won 10 out of 14 of these constituencies voting on Tuesday, the Congress four and JD(S) none.
The BJP is fighting on all the 14 seats and has given tickets to most of its sitting members of Parliament in this region. It has, however, changed its candidates in Chikkodi, Gulbarga, Raichur, Bellary and Shimoga.
The Congress party is fielding 11 and JD(S) three candidates in this phase according to the seat-sharing formula. Chikkodi, Belgaum, Bagalkot, Gulbarga, Raichur, Bidar, Koppal, Bellary, Haveri, Dharwad and Davanagere has Congress candidates. And, the JD(S) is fighting from Bijapur, Shimoga and Uttara Kannada.
In the Lingayat-dominated Bagalkot Lok Sabha seat, sitting MP PC Gaddigoudar is seeking a fourth consecutive term. The Congress has fielded Veena Kashappanavar from Bagalkot hoping that the coalition will stop the BJP’s successful run in this parliamentary constituency.
Belgaum, where the BJP has won thrice in a row since 2004, will see Angadi Suresh Channabasappa of the ruling party at the Centre and Congress leader Virupakshi Sadhunnavar will fight it out. Belgaum, with substantial Marathi population, has the highest number of candidates 57 contesting this year.
Umesh Jadav, who resigned as Chincholi Congress MLA to contest this election, is the BJP’s candidate on the Gulbarga Lok Sabha seat. He is taking on the might of Mallikarjuna Kharge, who won all the 11 elections he has fought for the state assembly and Parliament as the Congress candidate. Umesh Jadhav has focussed on Kharge’s anti-incumbency, the Modi wave and displeasure within the Gulbarga unit of the Congress.
Pralhad Joshi, the BJP’s current lawmaker, is taking on his old rival Vinay Kulkarni of the Congress and backed by the JD(S) in Dharwad, where the electorate is predominantly Lingayat. In Dharwad, Kulkarni was part of the movement for classifying Lingayat as a separate religion and the BJP is attacking him for his role, alleging that it was a conspiracy to divide Hindus.
The BJP is looking to wrest Bellary from Congress’ VS Ugrappa, who won the by-poll held in 2018 after B Sreeramalu gave up the Lok Sabha seat after winning the Molakalmuru assembly constituency in Chitradurga. Y Devendrappa of the BJP is contesting against Ugrappa.
The JD(S) candidate Anand Asnotikar is taking on Union minister Ananthkumar Hegde in the Uttara Kannada constituency, which is mostly a BJP bastion since 1996.
The sitting member of Parliament and BJP’s Bhagwanth Kuba is being challenged by Eshwar Khandre of the Congress party in Bidar, another seat where Lingayats are a dominant vote bank.
In Shimoga, a stronghold of state BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa, his son and sitting MP BY Raghavendra is up against Madhu Bangarappa of JD(S). Madhu Bangarappa is also the son of former chief minister S Bangarappa.
Two Lingayats, Annasaheb Jolle of the BJP and Congress’ Prakash Hukkeri are fighting in Chikkodi, known as the sugar belt of Karnataka. Ramesh Jigajinagi, Union minister and two-time MP from Bijapur, and Sunitha Devanand Chavan (JD-S) are contesting in the constituency dominated by the Lingayats.
The current lawmaker in the Lok Sabha and BJP leader GM Siddeshwar and Congress’ HB Manjappa are against each other on the Davanagere Lok Sabha seat.