Karnataka elections: Without Katti, Mamani, BJP may face tough challenge

Katti and Mamani recorded comfortable victories from Hukkeri and Saudatti, respectively, in the last three elections.

Published: 16th November 2022 06:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th November 2022 06:11 AM   |  A+A-

Late BJP leader Anand Mamani 

Express News Service

BELAGAVI: The recent demise of MLAs Umesh Katti (Hukkeri) and Anand Mamani (Saudatti) is expected to hamper the political prospects of the BJP in both the constituencies, as the ruling party struggles to find able replacements to continue its winning streak in the 2023 Assembly polls.

Katti and Mamani recorded comfortable victories from Hukkeri and Saudatti, respectively, in the last three elections. But whether the BJP will field members of both their families to capitalise on the sympathy factor remains to be seen, even as several leaders expect new faces to be fielded.

The brother of Umesh Katti, former MP from Chikkodi, Ramesh Katti, should be an apt replacement, but the Katti family remains undecided about its next move. “I am not keen on contesting the elections and have asked the party to field Nikhil, son of Umesh Katti instead.

But the party leadership wants me to contest as Nikhil is still young. I am prepared to make way for someone else as well, if the party is interested,’’ said Ramesh. He added that he was prepared to enter the fray as a BJP candidate if the party leadership insisted and felt he was the right candidate for the party to retain the Hukkeri seat.

According to sources, the BJP is keen to retain Hukkeri from where Umesh Katti has won eight of the last nine Assembly elections. He won four times, starting from 1985 to 1999, on a Janata Dal ticket, but then lost in 2004 as a Congress candidate, and then went on to win the last three elections on a BJP ticket. In the next few weeks, a consensus BJP candidate for Hukkeri is likely to emerge, sources added.

Former minister A B Patil of the Congress, an aspirant for the Congress ticket from Belagavi North, is now keen to contest from his home constituency of Hukkeri, after the death of Umesh Katti. An interesting clash is possible in Hukkeri between the BJP and Congress, if the Kattis and Patils enter the fray. The BJP is in a dilemma on the selection of a consensus candidate in Saudatti, another party bastion where Anand Mamani had won the last three elections. 

Unlike Hukkeri, the party lacked a potential replacement for Mamani here. His wife, Ratna, is not an active politician and their children are still very young to enter electoral politics. A section of the party leadership wants a young face to replace Mamani, even as attempts may be made by the party to capitalise on the sympathy factor, sources  say.


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