Congress plans to corner BJP in North Karnataka with AHINDA-Lingayat combo

Congress leaders met on Friday and chalked out a strategy for the 14 LS seats in the region.
Congress flag used for representational purposes only
Congress flag used for representational purposes only (Photo | PTI)

BENGALURU: The Congress has chalked out plans to pitch the combo of Lingayat and AHINDA (Kannada acronym for minorities, backward classes and Dalits) as a potent force against the BJP in 14 seats in North Karnataka that will go to polls in the second phase on May 7.

This is crucial for the party as it has to gain more seats in North Karnataka as JDS has no strong presence there to help its partner BJP. In some areas of Vijayapura, Kalaburagi and Bidar, JDS candidates had put up a strong fight in the last assembly polls. Congress leaders met on Friday and chalked out a strategy for the 14 LS seats in the region.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and DCM D K Shivakumar gave instructions to the local leaders to ensure the victory of party candidates and get rewarded after the LS polls, said Hubballi-Dharwad District Congress Committee (DCC) president Anil Kumar Patil.

The campaign has already picked up pace in Haveri-Gadag seat with Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister H K Patil aggressively campaigning for Congress candidate Ananda Gaddadeveramutt, a ‘Jangam Lingayat’, against BJP leader Basavaraj Bommai, a ‘Sada Lingayat’. It is a seat which former RDPR minister K S Eshwarappa wanted from the BJP for his son Kanthesh.

“Once Chief Minister Siddaramaiah hits the campaign trail, it will help the consolidation of AHINDA votes in favour of Congress and the fight will be neck-to-neck,” said a Congress leader.

After the first phase of polls in South Karnataka gets over on April 26, Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar will get ten days to focus on the remaining 14 seats. The electoral population of Kurubas, Siddaramaiah’s community, is considerable in Central and North Karnataka.

The Congress has given tickets to two of community members -- Vindo Asooti from Hubballi-Dharwad and K Rajashekar Hitnal from Koppal. The party has promised district Lingayat leaders, who get the candidates elected, the MLC post that was vacated by BJP leader Jagadish Shettar, a source said.

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