Tumkur appears to be indifferent to the burning issues. Instead, it is the caste politics that is the topic of discussion here.
Statements like ‘no Vokkaliga has won this seat for three decades after veteran B Lakkappa’, ‘Lingayats would vote for the BJP’, ‘Kurubas will support the Congress’ and ‘Vokkaligas are confused as a Golla community leader is fielded by the JD(S)’ are heard in Tumkur.
The BJP has fielded incumbent Member of Parliament G S Basavaraju, a Lingayat, despite a strong opposition from the party’s local leaders.
The Congress has nominated S P Muddahanume Gowda, a Vokkaliga.
The JD(S) is experimenting by fielding Krishnappa, a backward Golla leader.
Campaigning for the party’s candidate, JD(S) chief Deve Gowda urged the Vokkaligas to forget caste equations and vote for Krishnappa, just as they elected late C N Bhaskarappa, a Kuruba, in 1996.
Vokkaligas and Lingayats constitute major chunks of voters (3.5 lakh each) followed by SC, Muslims and Kurubas (2 lakh each) and Golla (1 lakh). Four-time M P Basavaraju has supporters cutting across caste lines besides the microscopic minorities.
“I really want to see Narendra Modi as the prime minister,” said 26-year-old Kemparaju of Chinaga village while his friend Honnappa wants to vote for a ‘good politician’.
The Modi wave has seeped into the rural areas as well. Vokkaliga youths from Madhugiri taluk have been campaigning for the BJP even as Muddahanume Gowda is leaving no stone unturned to unite Vokkaligas.
The show of unity between Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president G Parameshwara and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has improved his hopes as the Congress rallies are witnessing huge turnout.
Meanwhile, Krishnappa seems to be making every attempt to gain support of the Vokkaliga leaders who wanted one of their own to be the JD(S) candidate. He is also banking on Deve Gowda to get the support of Vokkaligas.
The triangular contest indicate chances of a photo finish between the BJP and the Congress.