Uphill struggle for Bangarappa

Apr 26th, 2009 | By Elections2009 | Category: Candidate watch

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It is virtually a straight fight between the son of a Chief Minister and a former Chief Minister in Shimoga, one of the key constituencies in Karnataka.

B.Y. Raghavendra, the elder son of the Chief Minister of Karnataka B.S. Yeddyurappa has been fielded by the BJP against former Chief Minister S. Bangarappa, who is seeking re-election as a Congress candidate this time.

Mr. Yeddyurappa is not sparing any effort to ensure the victory of Mr. Raghavendra, who is yet to prove his mettle as a politician and is no match to Mr. Bangarappa, in age and experience.

His only brush with politics so far has been limited to being elected to the Town Municipal Council of Shikaripur, his home town.

High stakes

Mr. Yeddyurappa’s stake in this election is quite high. The Chief Minister managed to see through the candidature of his son only after high drama. It is reported that the Sangh Parivar was opposed to the idea of fielding Mr. Raghavendra, but became reconciled to it when the BJP high command finally decided on him, taking his winnability into consideration. The ripples caused by his candidature are settled and the leaders of the Parivar are working seriously for his success.

Mr. Bangarappa, who was Chief Minister between 1990 and 1992, served as the MLA of Sorab constituency continuously for 30 years (from 1967 to 1996). He then opted to enter the Lok Sabha by successfully contesting the 1996 election.

Defeated once

He contested the next four elections, and only once was he unsuccessful when he was defeated in 1998 by the BJP’s Ayanur Manjunath.

Mr. Bangarappa has contested five Lok Sabha elections on five different party symbols. He fought the first two times, in 1996 and 1998, as the candidate of the Karnataka Congress Party and the Karnataka Vikas Party, both floated by him. In 1999 and 2004, he contested as the Congress and the BJP candidate respectively.

In 2005, he quit the BJP, resigned from the Lok Sabha and then won the by-election to fill the vacancy caused by his resignation on a Samajwadi Party ticket.

The going does not seem to be quite smooth for Mr. Bangarappa, who has rejoined the Congress. Health problems pose a major constraint for the 76-year-old. As a result, his campaign is yet to take off.

In contrast, Mr. Raghavendra, a 36-year-old BBM graduate, is well organised. The main issues in his campaign are the “failure” of the UPA, the “non-performance” of Mr. Bangarappa as Shimoga’s sitting MP, and the achievements of the BJP government in Karnataka.

Major worry

The declining price of areca, a mainstay of the constituency, and a major worry for its growers, is a key election issue here. The minimum support price offered for it by the State government is yet to be implemented effectively.

The implementation of the Dandavati Irrigation Project in Sorab taluk has also become a contentious issue.

Mr. Bangarappa has opposed it on the ground that it is not feasible, both technically and financially.

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