Muslims, Gangamathas will be deciding factors in Karnataka's Hanagal bypoll

Minority votes to go 3 ways; Ministers from different Lingayat sections campaign hard

Published: 25th October 2021 02:29 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th October 2021 02:29 AM   |  A+A-

Congress leader Siddaramaiah campaigns for party candidate Srinivas V Mane in Hanagal taluk on Saturday.

Congress leader Siddaramaiah campaigns for party candidate Srinivas V Mane in Hanagal taluk on Saturday. (Photo | Express)

Express News Service

BENGALURU : In a neck-and-neck fight between Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress in the October 30 bypoll to the Hanagal Assembly constituency, the division of Muslim community votes and the leaning of backward class Gangamathas would hold the key. 

Of over 2 lakh electorate, Muslims have around 35,000 votes, while two candidates from the community -- Niyaz Shaik from JDS and Nazir Ahmed Savanur (independent) -- are in the fray. The votes will be split three ways, between these two candidates and Congress. “Chances of Nazir, who is a former Hanagal Town Municipality president, grabbing more votes than Niyaz cannot be ruled out,” said a community leader. In fact, Congress tried, but in vain to convince Nazir to withdraw his nomination.

The backward ‘Gangamatha’ community, which has 25,000 votes, too will have considerable sway.  In the 2018 Assembly polls, community leader Chandrappa Jalagar contested as an independent and grabbed over 4,000 votes which reportedly helped the late CM Udasi of BJP, whose death necessitated the bypolls, to win against Congress candidate Srinivasa Mane by a small margin of 6,000 votes plus. 

This time, however, Mane has managed to get Jalagar on his side. Countering this strategy, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and his predecessor BS Yediyurappa have engaged Member of Legislative Council N Ravikumar from the community to camp at the constituency and campaign for party candidate Shivaraj Sajjanar.

“When Yediyurappa was chief minister he granted a large amount of funds to the Ambigara Chowdaiah Peetha which may help Sajjanar,” said another community leader Hannappa. However, he clarified that the votes may get divided between parties.

As expected, the Lingayat community is likely to go with BJP. Medium and Large-Scale Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani has been put in charge to garner a chunk of 33,000 votes of Panchamashalis and Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister JC Madhuswamy is on the campaign trail to get 5,000 Nolamba Lingayat votes. While Sajjanar himself will woo 5,000 Ganiga Lingayats, Bommai is out to impress over 10,000 Sada Lingayats.

While 28,000 Scheduled Caste votes may get divided between candidates, a bigger portion is likely to go with BJP as Govind Karjol campaigned aggressively. Just over 8,000 Kuruba voters are expected to stand by Congress because of leader of opposition Siddaramaiah.


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