This year’s parliamentary election in Bijapur (SC) constituency is likely to be a three-way contest, unlike the usual straight fight between the Congress and the BJP.
JD(S)’s K Shivaram, who is a top member of the Chalavadi Mahasabha, entered the fray at the eleventh hour. While Congress has fielded Prakash Rathod, BJP has retained its 2009 candidate and sitting MP Ramesh Jigajinagi.
Congress, which holds seven of the eight Assembly constituencies in Bijapur, is banking on its pro-poor tag and its workers, led by Water Resources Minister M B Patil and MLA Shivanand Patil, have shown great unity in working for Rathod’s success.
But Jigajinagi, who is an old warhorse who has fought many elections, is hopeful that the ‘Modi wave’ will help him put up a good show. And Shivaram has solid administrative experience despite being a first-time entrant.
Lingayats account for a majority of the voters, but Marwaris and Chalavadis can swing the outcome. The constituency has around one lakh voters in the age group of 18-30 years.
A major challenge for all the three parties will be to ensure that their internal problems don’t affect their poll prospects. JD(S) has been found lacking in terms of ground workers while groupism may spoil the fortunes of BJP and Congress.