Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah. Photo: PTI
Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah. Photo: PTI

All eyes on Karnataka’s VIP constituencies as heavyweights slug it out

Congress CM Siddaramaiah, who is contesting from Chamundeshwari and Badami seats, might risk his chance of holding on to his post if he loses from even one of them

Bengaluru:While the country waits for the Karnataka assembly election results on Tuesday, given that the verdict is being considered as a precursor to the 2019 general elections, political pundits will also be keenly following about half a dozen of the seats which are being contested by VIPs, and also for possible upsets in the polls.

Among them, incumbent chief minister from Congress Siddaramaiah, who is contesting from the Chamundeshwari and Badami seats, might risk his chance of holding on to his post if he loses from even one of them. He will be contesting against the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) B. Sriramulu from the Badami seat (won by Congress’s C. Balappa Bhimappa in 2013) and sitting MLA G. T. Deve Gowda from the Chamundeshwari constituency.

Badami is also important for Sriramulu, who has been backed by the power and money of controversial mining baron Gali Janardhan Reddy this election. The BJP contestant may also become the second most important person in the party after former chief minister Yedurappa if he wins.

Another heavy-weight whose electoral fight will be closely watched is JD(S)’s supremo H. D. Kumaraswamy, who is contesting from the Channapatna and Ramanagara constituencies. While the latter is not expected to be a tough contest for him, Kumaraswamy will however have to prove his mettle against Channapatna strongman C. P. Yogeshwara from the BJP (who won the seat on a Samajwadi party and recently joined the BJP).

For former chief minister and BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Yedurappa, winning the Shikaripura assembly seat will be a matter of prestige. Though his competitor, the Congress’s candidate G. B. Malathesh, is not considered a threat as such, the winning margin will be important for Yeddyurappa’s stature in his party.

Among other electoral contests, the Melukote seat also promises to be an interesting electoral fight, as political debutant Darshan Puttanaiah from the Swaraj Party will face-off against sitting MP (from the Mandya Lok Sabha seat) from the JD(S) C. S. Puttaraju. A techie who left his comfortable job in a US-firm, Puttanaiah is seen to have given Karnataka’s farm movements a restart. He is also the son of iconic farm leader K.S.Puttannaiah, who died in February. Puttaraju is expected to put up a tough fight for the seat.

Family feuds often spill on to politics and the two sons of former chief minister S. Bangarappa will be vying to win the Sorab seat, for which the stakes run high. Madhu Bangarappa, who is contesting on a JD(S) ticket will be facing-off against his brother Kumar Bangarappa (BJP) from the BJP. In these keenly contested seats, contestants like Sriramulu, G. T. Deve Gowda and Darshan Puttnaiah stand to become giant-killers if they can pull-off a win.