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Hanagal may not be smooth sailing for BJP   

Hanagal is becoming a worry for the BJP, which is looking weak here, not only because of the Yediyurappa factor, but also because the Udasi family has remained lukewarm to the polls.

Published: 18th October 2021 05:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th October 2021 05:58 AM   |  A+A-

BJP candidate for Hanagal bypoll, Shivaraj Sajjanar, campaigns along with his supporters in the constituency

BJP candidate for Hanagal bypoll, Shivaraj Sajjanar, campaigns along with his supporters in the constituency. (Photo| EPS)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Although former chief minister BS Yediyurappa has assured the party that he will campaign in the Hanagal and Sindagi bypolls, the Bharatiya Janata Party is concerned about the strongman’s genuine involvement. 

Hanagal is becoming a worry for the BJP, which is looking weak here, not only because of the Yediyurappa factor, but also because the Udasi family has remained lukewarm to the polls. Hanagal is the Udasi family pocketborough, and BJP MP Shivakumar Udasi was keen on keeping the seat in the family. 
The BJP, though, decided to give the ticket to Shivaraj Sajjannar, who locals consider an outsider. 

It may be recalled that Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had thanked the late Udasi, saying he had got him the BJP ticket when he decided to contest, but Bommai’s attempts to get the ticket for a member of the Udasi family did not bear fruit. Udasi’s supporters are not too  happy that Bommai was not able to swing it in their favour. Udasi had represented Hanagal for the longest period, right from 1983 when he first won the seat, except for occasions when he lost to Manohar Tahsildar from the Congress. Traditionally, Udasi would get the Lingayat vote, while Talsildar got the backward community vote. 

The BJP’s worry is that if Lingayat consolidation does not happen in support of Sajjanar, then the margin that Udasi used to win with, could be eroded. In 2018, Udasi won by 6,000 votes and in 2008 too, he had won by a similar margin.

The BJP is also a little concerned that when Yediyurappa broke away and formed the Karnataka Janata Paksha in 2013, he had fielded Udasi, who managed to garner about 60,000 votes, while the BJP candidate won a mere 7,000 votes -- going to show that the BJP vote there is limited.   

If Janata Dal-Secular weans away a large minority vote from Congress, it will help the BJP, but in 2018,  Kumaraswamy’s candidate in Hanagal had managed to win just over 3,000 votes, and lost his deposit, so it could be a challenge.  The only reason for the BJP to smile is that bypolls favour the ruling party, but that may not be enough to be overconfident.



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