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Constituency Watch: Tumakuru LS seat in K’taka to witness clash of veterans

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Shillong, April 16: The Tumakuru Lok Sabha constituency in Karnataka will witness a fight between two veterans.

The win here is crucial for both BJP’s V. Somanna, a Lingayat and Congress’ S.P. Muddahanumegowda, a Vokkaliga.

Since the seat is dominated by the Lingayat and Vokkaliga communities, the results are keenly awaited as it would indicate how far both communities have accepted the BJP and JD(S) alliance.

It would also determine the mood of the Vokkaliga community, for which former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda’s family and Deputy CM and Congress’ state President D.K. Shivakumar have indulged in a bitter fight.

This is a do-or-die election for 73-year-old Somanna, known for organisational skills. He is one of the top leaders of the Lingayat community, who broke the jinx of caste politics by winning the Vijayanagar and Govindarajanagar constituencies of Bengaluru which is dominated by Vokkaligas.

Somanna got the ticket amid controversy after former Minister J.C. Madhuswamy lobbied for the ticket. A campaign was also run against Somanna for being an outsider for the seat.

Somanna was asked to contest against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in the Varuna Assembly seat by the party in the 2023 Assembly elections. He also contested the Chamarajanagar Assembly seat and lost both. Hence, a victory here is crucial for him.

Congress candidate Muddahanumegowda, known for his friendly nature and organisational skills, is supported by DyCM Shivakumar. Gowda had returned to the Congress party from BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. He had joined the BJP before the 2023 Assembly polls.

In 2019, Muddahanumegowda was asked to vacate his Lok Sabha seat for the then Congress-JD(S) alliance candidate, former PM H.D. Deve Gowda. He was elected as an MLA from the party twice and also held the post of President of the Tumakuru District Congress party.

Muddahanumegowda has been attacking the BJP candidate, Somanna, saying that he is an outsider and the people should not vote for him. He is confident that guarantee schemes, his personal connect and the leadership of CM Siddaramaiah and DyCM Shivakumar would fetch votes for him.

Somanna has served as an MLA for five terms and he was elected MLC twice. He was brought to the BJP by Yediyurappa from the Congress party. Somanna distanced himself from Yediyurappa some time ago, but ahead of the Lok Sabha election, both leaders patched up again.

The constituency comprises Chikkanayakanahalli, Tiptur, Turuvekere, Tumakuru City, Tumakuru Rural, Koratagere, Gubbi and Madhugiri Assembly segments. The Congress has won four seats. BJP and JD(S) have won two seats each. Minister for Home Dr. G. Parameshwara represents the Koratagere constituency and Minister for Cooperation K.N. Rajanna represents the Madhugiri Assembly segment.

Home Minister Parameshwara himself had indicated that those ministers who fail to ensure the victory of candidates might lose their position. Minister K.N. Rajanna has openly supported the creation of more DyCM posts in the state much to the chagrin of Shivakumar. He also stated that if all the CM is changed in the state, Home Minister Parameshwara, who hails from the Dalit community should be made the CM.

Shivakumar and Somanna hail from the Kanakapura region and share a good bondage.

Sources said that caste plays a major role in the constituency. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s wave is also seen. Since most of the district comprises dry land and social indicators are low, the poor masses, beneficiaries of guarantee schemes are likely to support the Congress party. The alliance with JD(S) will come in aide for the BJP here.

Vokkaligas and Lingayats constitute major chunks of voters (four lakh each) followed by SC, Muslims and Kurubas (2.5 lakh each) and Golla (1.3 lakh). (IANS)

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