Ex Chief Ministers’ Children, BJP Rebel To Battle For This Karnataka Seat

The Shimoga Lok Sabha constituency in Karnataka is gearing up for a three-way battle with children of former Chief Ministers and a veteran leader in the fray.

BJP has fielded sitting MP BY Raghvendra, son of former Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and brother of party state chief BY Vijayendra. While Congress has fielded Geetha Shivarajkumar in the seat. She is the daughter of former Chief Minister late S Bangarappa, sister of state Education Minister Madhu Bangarappa and wife of Kannada superstar Shiva Rajkumar.

Setting the stage for a triangular fight, BJP rebel leader KS Eshwarappa is contesting as an independent in the seat. Mr Eshwarappa was expelled from the BJP for six years following his decision to contest as an independent. The veteran leader has represented Shivamogga assembly five times.

The Shimoga has been witnessing the face-off between the two political families of Yediyurappa and Bangarappa since 2009. The constituency has favoured both BJP and Congress multiple times in the past.

In the 2019 general elections, Raghavendra defeated Madhu Bangarappa, who represented JD(S) then, by a margin of over 2 lakh votes. In the 2018 byelection also, Raghavendra and Madhu came face-to-face. In the 2014 general elections, Mr Yediyurappa defeated Geetha Shivarajkumar. Mr Raghavendra became Shimoga MP first time in 2009 defeating Mr Bangarappa. Mr Bangarappa has won the seat four times representing different parties in the past.

When Mr Raghavendra is seeking re-election and a third term banking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image, Geetha Shivarjkumar is holding onto the Congress Nyay guarantees and the state government’s popularity.

Both BJP and Congress are keen on establishing dominance in Shimoga with PM Modi himself on the ground campaigning for Raghavendra while actor Shivarajkumar is actively participating in roadshows and rallies campaigning for Geetha.

The key issues debated in the constituency include disturbances between different communities in the region, environmental conservation, need for better educational facilities and job opportunities among others.

The voting in Shimoga will be held on May 7 in the third phase of the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections along with 13 other seats in Karnataka. Karnataka sends 28 MPs to the Lower House. Polling in 14 seats was held on April 26 in the second phase. The counting will be held on June 4.

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