MYSURU: The stage is set for a fierce battle between the ruling Congress and the BJP in Gundlupet assembly constituency which will go to polls on Sunday.
While the Congress is banking on the development works done by late Minister H S Mahadeva Prasad in the last 25 years and sympathy, the BJP too is trying to woo voters playing sympathy card for its candidate Nirajan Kumar, who lost two elections by narrow margins to Mahadeva Prasad in 2008 and 2013. His father C M Shivamalappa had also lost two elections to the same Congress leader.
Though water and fodder scarcities took off as the poll issue, the campaigning slowly veered off to two prominent leaders of the Congress and the BJP.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has campaigned for more than 10 days and visited Gundlupet on five occasions.
Though Geetha Mahadeva Prasad, widow of Mahadeva Prasad was not keen on contesting the bypolls, Siddaramaiah convinced her after eliciting opinions from party workers.
As the BJP launched its propaganda against Geetha Mahadeva Prasad’s social life and her inaccessibility to people of Gundlupet, Siddaramaiah deputed more than a dozen ministers, including M B Patil and D K Shivakumar to help her.
The Congress reminded people of the contribution of Mahadeva Prasad in filling up of tanks, bringing Kapila waters to Gundlupet, upgrading of the infrastructure and boost in tourism apart from getting engineering college and medical colleges and industrial area to the district.
Geetha and Congress leaders have appealed for people’s continued support to fulfil the wishes of Mahadeva Prasad and complete all the ongoing projects in the constituency.
BSY plays caste card
Yeddyurappa, who has been campaigning for more than 20 days in Gundlupet, is playing the caste card. He has also claimed that a BJP victory in Gundlupet would bring him closer to ‘Chief Minister gaddi’ in 2018. Gundlupet constituency is dominated by Veerashaivas. BJP candidate Nirajan Kumar belongs to Gowd Lingayat community which accounts for more than 80 per cent of Lingayat electorate whereas Geetha is a Shetty Lingayat.
Many Veerashaiva leaders were made to camp in the constituency to tell voters that this election would be semi-finals to make Lingayat leader Yeddyurappa the next Chief Minister.
The BJP leaders aware that dalits are the second biggest population after Nayakas in the constituency.
Yeddyurappa also brought in Chaluwadi Mahasabha president K Shivaram to campaign. Shivaram termed Siddaramaiah “anti-dalit” for denying Deputy Chief Minister’s post to dalits and dumping V Srinivasa Prasad unceremoniously.
The BJP leaders are also knocking at the doors of Tamils through their leaders and even recalled Yeddyurappa installing a Tiruvaluar statue in Bengaluru.