Banglore Rural all set for titanic clash between DKS, Deve Gowda families

While the BJP-JDS alliance is trying to wrest the only seat that Congress won in Karnataka in 2019, Shivakumar is leaving no stones unturned to retain hold over his home turf.
Banglore Rural all set for titanic clash between DKS, Deve Gowda families
Illustration: Mandar Pardikar

BENGALURU: Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha constituency is witnessing a high-voltage contest between the families of former prime minister H D Deve Gowda and deputy chief minister D K Shivakumar, both Vokkaligas.

Karnataka’s Congress heavyweight Shivakumar’s brother Suresh is taking on JDS supremo Gowda’s son-in-law and noted cardiologist Dr CN Manjunath, who is contesting on a BJP ticket. While the BJP-JDS alliance is trying to wrest the only seat that Congress won in Karnataka in 2019, Shivakumar is leaving no stones unturned to retain hold over his home turf.

The constituency has a large number of Vokkaligas and both sides are trying to woo them. The Congress is banking on guarantee schemes while BJP will be hoping to ride the Modi wave and Dr Manjunath’s clean image.

Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha Constituency is a mix of urban and rural voters, totalling 27.53 lakh, the second-highest in the state after Bangalore North.

In 2009, in the first election after Bengaluru Rural constituency’s formation the previous year, former CM H D Kumaraswamy had won with a lead of 1.4 lakh votes.

After Kumaraswamy resigned as MP, DK Suresh won the by-polls in 2013. The BJP has been winning all three LS seats in Bengaluru — South, North, and Central for years, but it has never won Bangalore Rural since its formation in 2008. However, BJP candidates have always secured a decent number of votes. In 2019, former BJP MLC Ashwathnarayana Gowda got 6.7 lakh votes, while Suresh, then a Congress-JDS alliance candidate, won with 8.7 lakh votes.

Now with the JDS as partner, the BJP is trying to make inroads here. Union Home Minister Amit Shah started his campaign in the state from Bangalore Rural and slammed Suresh for his remarks on the “demand for a separate state” for South India over alleged injustice.

Dr Manjunath was the longest-serving director of the Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences & Research in Bengaluru.

Congress describes him as a “white-collar candidate” while projecting Suresh as a grassroots leader.

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