Unfolding Karnataka Part 7: Middle Karnatakaby Mahesh Gajabar May 10, 2018
With Karnataka Elections in next few days, we present to our readers, a series tailored specifically for people who are interested in all the required information regarding this election. Mahesh Gajabar writes for you explaining why Karnataka is different and how their politics works since the early days. Readers are advised to draw their own conclusions from Author’s views. Here comes the fifth part of ‘Unfolding Karnataka’ Series, now putting facts and numbers together, region wise. You can follow the series here.
There are total 26 seats in this region. Like northern part of Karnataka, this region is also dominated by Lingayat’s except 1 constituency in Shivamogga district and 2 constituencies in Chikkamagaluru which have a Vakkaligas strong presence. Karnataka’s second largest caste Vakkaligas(13%) presence starts from the already mentioned 3 constituencies. This region has the strong presence of BJP i.e because of BJP strong man and CM Candidate Yeddyurappa comes from here (Shikaripura constituency, Shivamogga District).
Areca Nut is the main crop of this region(Famous in India for areca nut) in addition to that this area very sensitive area communally. BJP’s rise in the area was due to mainly 3 reasons. 1. Yeddyurappa 2. Baba budan giri darga – Datta peetha issue which is considered as Ayodhya issue of Karnataka. 3. Babri Masjid demolition aftermath communal violence in this region.
Shivamogga district has very beautiful western ghats and beautiful Jog Falls. This district is also considered as the cultural capital of India. Rashtra Kavi KuVeMpu(2nd Gyanapeetha winner in India), famous Intellectual and Gyanapeetha awardee U R Anantha Murthy, Rashtra Kavi GS Shivarudrappa and many more men of literature are from this district.
Shivamoggaa has given two very strong chief ministers to Karnataka. Bangarappa supporters called him Solillada Saradara (a leader who cannot be defeated 1967 – 2008). After his removal from CM post in 1992 he took an oath to finish Congress and in 1994 assembly general elections his party won 10 seats pushing incumbent Congress to 3rd position with just 38 seats reduced from 178 it had won in 1989. Later he merged his party in Congress and helped them to come back power in 1999. In 2004 he joined BJP hoping on BJP wave and eying on Union minister post. But NDA did not come back to power. After some time left BJP joined Samajavadi party. In 2008 general assembly election neither Congress nor JDS could not find a strong candidate against Yeddyurappa hence asked Bangarappa to contest. He lost massively by 45k votes margin. In 2009 Lokasabha elections Yeddyurappa son Raghavendra defeated him. From then he lost relevance and joined JDS. Died in 2010.
One more strong leader raised from this area is B S Yeddyurappa (BSY). From 1983 he is winning from Shikaripura (except 1999 elections). He built BJP party very strongly on his charisma. Like Bangarappa he is also known as one of the best opposition party leader & farmer leader in political history. After 2008 incidents he suddenly emerged as Lingayat leader. On removal from CM post in 2011, he built his own party KJP (Karnataka Janata Paksha) in 2012. He also did the same thing to BJP which Bangarappa did to Congress. In 2013 KJP won just 6 seats but came second in 38 seats in that Lost 27 seats by very whisker margin. (258 votes to 2.5k votes). He is the single candidate who won from KJP and from this region (27k margin). His party completely decimated BJP in Shivamogga and Davanagere district. That helped both Congress & JDS to gain. Now he is back in BJP fold. In 2014 he was asked to contest for Parliamentary & won by 3 lac 64 k votes margin. In his assembly segment, he had the 62k lead. He resigned from his MLA position. In a by-election, his son won by mere 6k votes margin.
BSY again contesting from the same constituency but no such resistance from both Congress & JDS. But his departure had already made so much negative impact on his hold on own district and his re-entry cannot get back his glory on other seats of this district. JDS under the leadership of Madhu Bangarappa (Son of Bangarappa, JDS Youth wing state president) got the edge due to the opportunity provided by KJP and won 3 seats last time. Now also it be a triangular contest in Shivamogga district.
There are 3 very interesting seats to look for in Shivamogga district apart from BSY seat.
1. Soraba – Kumar Bangarappa (Eldest son of Bangarappa, Ex-Minister in SM Krishna Govt, BJP ) vs Madhu Bangarappa (Younger son of Bangarappa, sitting MLA, JDS). For the 4th time, they are contesting each other. Previous results
2004- Kumar (Congress) vs Madhu(BJP)- Kumar won
2008 – Kumar(Congress) vs Madhu(Samajavadi Party) vs Halappa(BJP)- Halappa won & became minister in BSY govt
2013 -Kumar (Congress) vs Madhu(JDS) vs Halappa(KJP)- Madhu won and Halappa got 2nd place.
2. Sagara- Now Kumar joined BJP hence Halappa has been shifted to Sagara to Take on 87-year-old veteran Kagodu Thimmappa(Congress, Currently Revenue minister). Halappa had a rape allegation on his friend wife when he was a minister(CD was also viral on news channels). recently got acquitted.
3. Shivamogga city – Ex DCM Eshwarappa (Kuruba) is one powerful BJP man who built BJP along with BSY in the 80’s. Both BSY and Eshwarappa were close friends from the beginning of building the party. After BJP coming to power internal spat started between them. Eshwarappa stood with Reddy group. When BSY built KJP he took it too personal to defeat Eshwarappa. in 2013 KJP candidate lost by 258 votes and Congress won. Eshwarappa pushed to third place(He was incumbent DCM then). After BSY was announced as CM candidate from BJP, Eshwarappa was sidelined. Like Siddu’s Ahinda mantra Eshwarappa started building Rayanna Brigade. BSY had the plan to give a ticket to his candidate. But Eshwarappa got a ticket. Since Shivamogga city has Lingayat & Brahmin domination Eshwarappa has the dependency on BSY & requested him to do the campaign. Congress has Brahmin sitting MLA.
Davanagere a famous city for butter Dosa and it is also Middle Karnataka’s education hub. This cities butter dosa has so much popularity that, there 99% fake dosa centers in Pune & Mumbai with name boards “Dakshin Devanagari Dosa Center”. That too also with fake spelling (Correct spelling is Davanagere).
This city has 2 assembly seats and both are held by veteran politician 87-year-old Shamanur Shivashankarappa & his son horticulture minister Shamanur Mallikarjun. They run a prestigious education society called “Bapuji Educational Association”. Shamanur family have a hold on the city from last 4 decades. Shivashankarappa is also a president of All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha which was the sole representative organization of Lingayats & Veerashivas.
For Separate religion status for Lingayat’s, Mahasabha opposed the move & insisted on separate religion to be named as “Veerashaiva”. Though Shivashankarappa is in congress his son Mallikarjun opposed it heavily in the cabinet for sending religion status proposal to the central government. In spite of 4 decades, Their hold is restricted only to the city.
In rest of the 6 constituencies have BS Yeddyurappa has a very strong hold. His KJP stood 2nd in 3 seats & lost by 2 whisker margin of 800 to 1000 votes. Now he has got hold back again. Possibly BJP can get 6 out of 8 leaving other 2 to Shamanur family. Congress also looking for last time numbers(7). Karunakar Reddy(Elder brother of Janardhan Reddy) is contesting against Congress sitting MLA M.P.Ravindra who is a son of the most humble politician and ex DCM late M.P.Prakash. JDS has presence only in 1 seat and there will be a triangular fight now with an edge to BJP.
In Chitradurga, there is a good heavy number of scheduled tribe population apart from Lingayats. Famous Murugha Matha of Chitrdurga was in the front lead of movements for separate religion status. Eying on ST votes in all neighbor districts BJP has fielded a Ballari MP Sri Ramulu(Janardhan reddy camp man) from Molakalmuru. denying ticket to sitting MLA. He is contesting as a rebel. Sriramulu is also taking on CM siddu in Badami, Bagalakote district. In molakalmuru fight is between him & Rebel Thippeswamy.
In 2013 both KJP & BSR dented chances of BJP in this district. They are now eying on 6 out of 6. Social welfare minister who was insisting on the implementation of Sadashiv commission report (Internal reservation for left & right-hand Dalits) is contesting from Holalkere. Congress also want to retain its last time tally. JDS has fielded a strong imported candidates. But they may eat votes and may not win.
Chikkamagaluru district is famous for coffee estates. Using Datta peetha – Baba Budana giri darga issue BJP got prominence here from 1999. Fire brand vakkaliga leader CT Ravi emerged from that. Hatrick winner Ravi is the future CM candidate of BJP according to unofficial RSS Plan. He contesting from Chikkamagaluru constituency.
Other heavy weight hattrick BJP man and vakkaliga leader Jeevaraj is contesting from Sringeri. Sringeri is famous for Sharada matha founded by Adi Shankaracharya. This constituncey has Rambhapuri Matha which is one of the pancha peethas of veerashaiva. Seer of Rambhapuri is in front position to oppose separate religion status for Lingayat’s.
From Kadur constituency Devegowda’s right hand man and one of the humblest politician YSV Datta is contesting. He is a sitting MLA. He belongs to Brahman caste. Kadur has dominance of Lingayat’s & Kuruba(Dhangar). In spite of no caste backing, he won in 2013. He is considered as one of the excellent spokesperson in current Karnataka politics.
In Chikkamagaluru BJP is eying on winning at least 4 seats. While JDS has made good come back by giving tickets to 2 Lingayat’s. Hence there will be a triangular fight in the district. Surveys have predicted that BJP will gain big in this by winning 13-15 out of 26. With Congress in second place with 8-9 and JDS 3-5.
– To be Continued –
(Mahesh Gajabar contributed to this article in his personal capacity. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Netive.in.)