When the Congress registered a landslide victory in the aftermath of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination in 1991, Tumkur was among the four Lok Sabha seats of Karnataka which gave a surprise result.
The sympathy wave could not affect the impression left by the ‘rathyatra’ held by BJP patriarch L K Advani on people’s minds here.
Jansangh loyalist S Mallikarajunaiah of the BJP defeated the Congress candidate G S Basavaraju, eventually breaching the tradition of Tumkur being a Congress bastion until then.
Mallikarajunaiah won for the BJP in 1998 and 2004 as well, and in 2009 too the BJP won through G S Basavaraju as he switched from the Congress to the BJP.
Meanwhile, Janata Dal candidate C N Bhaskarappa, a Kuruba, won from here in 1996. In the last two decades, the Congress could win from here only once in 1999 through snap polls, when G S Basavaraju won.
From the first general elections in 1951 until 1989, Tumkur was a Congress citadel as C R Basappa and M V Krishnappa (1957 and 1962) had been winning from here continuously.
K Lakkappa, a Vokkaliga, broke the Congress stranglehold on Tumkur and won on a PSP ticket in 1967. But he later went on to join the Congress.
He won the Tumkur seat in 1971,1977 and 1980 for the Congress.
He has had a record four consecutive wins. Later, G S Basavaraju, a Lingayat, continued to win for the Congress. He won in 1984 and 1989. Mostly Lingayats, except on one occasion a Kuruba, have been winning against their Vokkaliga counterparts from the Tumkur seat.
Tumkur is identified with the Siddaganga Mutt where centenarian seer Dr Sri Shivakumara Swamiji calls the shots over all party stalwarts. It’s also popular as kalpataru nadu given the widespread coconut cultivation in the region.
The eight assembly constituencies are: Koratagere (SC), Turuvekere, Chikkanayakanahalli and Gubbi held by JD(S), three, including Tumkur city, Madhugiri and Tiptur by Congress and a lone Tumkur Rural segment by the BJP.
The stakes are high for KPCC president G Parameshwara as its his home turf.
He has pitched his loyalist S P Muddahanume Gowda from here. While it’s a prestige issue for the JD(S) as it has fielded it’s state president A Krishnappa from here.
The BJP is fielding incumbent MP G S Basavaraju. In the 2009 polls, G S Basavaraju defeated S P Muddahanume Gowda, JD(S) candidate, by a margin of 21,445 votes.