For the Janata Dal (Secular), the parliamentary constituency of Tumakuru is going to prove to be an acid test.
Though the party is at its strongest in the Old Mysuru region — including Tumakuru district — the JD(S) has never registered a win from there in the Lok Sabha elections. This year, however, may see a change with party president H.D. Deve Gowda contesting from Tumakuru, with the support of coalition partner, the Congress.
The former Prime Minister has given up his Hassan Parliamentary constituency in favour of his grandson, Prajwal Revanna.
The BJP has fielded G.S. Basavaraj, who has won the seat four times, three of which on a Congress ticket and one on BJP. In 2014, he lost to S.P. Muddahanumegowda, incumbent Congress MP, who was asked to cede the seat to Deve Gowda for the 2019 LS elections.
Muddahanumegowda, initially very unhappy with this decision, is said to have come around and has been participating in Congress-JD(S) joint rallies. So also K.N. Rajanna, former Madhugiri MLA, who withdrew his nomination as a ‘rebel’ candidate after senior Congress leaders intervened.
“Our main aim is to defeat Modi and the BJP,” said Deve Gowda at a press conference after filing his nomination papers in Tumakuru. This election will see two political veterans — Deve Gowda, 85, and Basavaraj, 77, — in a face-off, though 13 other candidates are in the fray.
Basavaraj is banking on Modi’s appeal and the development works that he helped set up in the district.
It is expected that the votes of the two dominant castes in the district, the Vokkaligas, and Lingayats, will go to Deve Gowda and Basavaraj respectively.
But, the votes of Kuruba and the Golla communities, who are considerable in number, may go against the JD(S). The Kuruba community blame the JD(S) for the defeat of their community leader and then Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in the 2018 Assembly elections at Chamundeshwari, and the Gollas for the sidelining of A. Krishnappa, in the 2014 LS elections. The votes of the Scheduled Castes, more than 2.6 lakh in number, will be the deciding factor in this election.
the ruling coalition’s choice of Deve Gowda as the candidate has opened the doors for the BJP to raise the issue of dynastic politics. Basavaraj, in his campaigns, has pointed out that Deve Gowda could have given a ticket to local Tumakuru leaders. “He is interested only in getting power for his family members,” he has charged.
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