Giving his Varuna constituency to his son, Siddaramaiah recently filed nominations from the Chamundeshwari constituency. Ever since it was rumored that the Congress CM is not confident of his victory and he might also contest from Badami constituency, which has a substantial population of his community, the Kurubas. He finally opened up and revealed his decision to contest there.
After his announcement, the BJP started looking for a strong leader to defeat Siddaramaiah in the Badam constituency. It was rumoured that the party has decided to field BS Yeddyurappa against him. But the latest we hear is that along with him, the party is considering the names of B Sriramulu and Bagalkote MP PC Gaddigoudar. It is likely to finalize Sriramulu as its candidate.
Some political experts think BJP should field Sriramulu as its candidate in Badami for many reasons. Here are 5 important reasons that ensure Sriramulu's victory against Siddaramaiah.
1. Caste matrix
Badami constituency has around 48,000 voters from Kuruba community. Siddaramaiah hopes these numbers will help in his victory. Apart from Kurubas, the constituency has two other dominant communities — Lingayats and Valmikis, who constitute 55,000 and 36,000 voters, respectively.
While most of the Lingayat voters favor the BJP, Sriramulu's candidature can woo Valmiki voters as he hails from the same community.
If we look at the caste matrix, BJP has a good chance to beat the Congress in Badami.
2. Availability and local sentiment
Badami, which is in north Karnataka, is quite far from the state capital, Bengaluru. Some voters fear that Siddaramaiah won't be easily reachable once elected. Also, as the Congress leader is contesting from two seats, Badami and Chamundeshwari, he may leave one post polls. These thoughts might drive voters to go for BJP.
"If Siddaramaiah contests from here and wins in both places, this is the seat he will give up. Chamundeshwari is his home seat. It is we who will have to face a by-election. Besides, it is much better to have a local candidate. If he (Siddaramaiah) is elected, we will have to go all the way to Bengaluru each time we want to reach our MLA," Noorandrappa Malli, a resident of Gulledgud town told ET.
3. Dissents within Congress
There was a tough competition between MLA BB Chimmanakatti and Devraj Patil for B-Form from the Congress. Amidst their fight, the name of Siddaramaiah started doing the rounds. Chimmanakatti, who has been elected for six times, was furious over this development. He reportedly said that Congress will not survive if he is not given the ticket. He even reportedly threatened to commit suicide, if he does not get it.
However, Congress' decision to field Siddaramaiah in Badami is sure to disappoint the followers of BB Chimmanakatti, who may not vote for the CM by choosing loyalty to their leader over party.
4. Lingayat community
Siddaramaiah gave his nod for separate religion status to Lingayats in a bid woo their votes. He also plans to give reservation to the community. However, his move left many people from these communities redfaced. Some were hurt over his act of looking down upon them by giving reservations. They may find BJP as the suitable party to vote.
5. Anti-incumbency and north Karnataka's under-development
As the CM of Karnataka, Siddaramaiah has started several developmental works for the people from SC, ST, and OBC. The voters from the upper castes including Lingayats feel cheated. Another feeling at the grassroots is the CM ignored the people of north Karnataka in terms of development works and also allotted ministries considered to be of lesser importance to MLAs from the region. These sentiments might also work in favor of the BJP.
Sriramulu recently filed his nominations at Molkalmur constituency in Chitradurga district. Regarding rumors about his candidature in Badami, he said, "So far I have not received any instructions from the high command. Being a sincere party worker, I will abide by the party's decision on contesting from Badami."
On Sunday, the Congress has confirmed candidature of Siddaramaiah in the Badami constituency and he will reportedly file his nominations on Tuesday. On the other hand, it is rumored that Sriramulu is likely to file his nominations in Badami on Monday. But the BJP is yet to make an official announcement about it.