BADAMI, BAGALKOT: As opposition parties grow in strength in Badami ahead of the May 12 elections, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah conducted his single-day campaign in different parts of the constituency on Saturday. While a confident Siddaramaiah claimed to be assured of his victory, ever changing caste dynamics in the region might make the going difficult for him. Locals of the region believe that it will be a neck-to-neck contest in the region, belying the CMs expectations that it will be an easy victory in Badami as he facing tough competition in Chamundeshwari constituency too.
Siddaramaiah, who began his campaign during the day by attacking his opponent B Sriramulu, held multiple rallies during the day, along with road shows in Guledgudda and Kerur. Most of the programmes were organised at locations conducive to the Congress while campaigning at BJP strongholds such as Badami town was avoided by Siddaramaiah. During an event held at Kalidasa Education Society in Badami, he asked why BJP’s B Sriramulu had turned his attention towards Badami. “What is the relation between Sriramulu and Badami?”, he asked and added that Sriramulu’s friend Janardhana Reddy had looted Ballari of its mineral wealth. “Sriramulu has come here to loot the hills,” he said.
Promising to provide ‘special attention’ to Badami, he said he will ensure ‘total development’ of the region in five years. However, there was no opportunity for people who had gathered at the venue to interact with the CM. According to local Congress leaders, the interaction programme could not be held due to Siddaramaiah’s busy schedule. He then went on to take part in rallies at Belur, Guledgudd, Kerur and Kulageri.
Lingayat mutt seer absent during CM visit
The absence of Shivayogi Mandir president Sanganabasava Swamiji during Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s visit set tongues wagging here on Friday. While rumours were ripe that Sanganabasava seer stayed away from the CM, temple authorities have denied this. Siddaramaiah, during his visit to the Veerashaiva-Lingayat temple, could not meet any important seers here. However, the seers had met BJP candidate B Sriramulu when he was campaigning in the region last week. The absence of the seers is being seen in the context of a separate religion movement for Lingayats, which the Veerashaiva-Lingayat temple had opposed. However, temple sources said that the Swamiji has been out of station for the past three days.
He is visiting the houses of temple devotees. “Moreover, they had no intimation about the CM visiting the temple,” a source said. It is also being said that Siddaramaiah’s visit was a damage control move to avoid being blamed by Lingayats. “He is holding a rally in Nandakeshwara after his rally in Belur. Since his convoy had to pass in front of the Mandir, he was forced to visit,” the source added. During his visit to the temple, Siddaramaiah offered respects to the memorials of Hangal Kumareshwara Swamiji and Sadashiva Swamiji. He also interacted with junior pontiffs who were present at the Gurukul of Shivayogi Mandir.