Shobha Karandlaje under pressure to win in her party stronghold

PTI, Apr 21, 2024, 11:32 AM IST

After she was shifted to Bangalore North segment for the coming Lok Sabha elections, Union Minister Shobha Karandlaje is determined to prove a point or two and wants to ensure that BJP continues its winning streak here.

Bangalore North has remained a BJP stronghold since 2004 and the 57-year-old is banking on the ”Modi factor”.

She is facing Congress candidate and former Rajya Sabha member M V Rajeev Gowda, who is putting up a spirited fight. Both belong to the Vokkaliga community.

Karandlaje is a two-time MP from Udupi-Chikmagalur but was moved out after she faced a ”Go back Shobha” campaign there from a section of her party.

Karandlaje has been telling people how India is on the development path in the past 10 years under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership.

”This is an election to save India’s culture and ‘Sanatana’ traditions,” the Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, who hails from coastal Karnataka, said.

According to BJP sources, she has a strong backing of former Chief Minister and BJP stalwart B S Yediyurappa.

Since 2004, BJP is holding this seat, which was a Congress fortress from 1952 to 2004 barring the 1996-1998 period when the then Janata Dal’s C Narayanaswamy was the MP.

Former Railway Minister late C K Jaffer Sharief was the longest serving MP of this constituency who represented it seven times, including for five terms uninterruptedly from 1977 to 1996.

Since 2004, BJP had three MPs from here– former Karnataka Director General of Police H T Sangliana, late D B Chandre Gowda and former Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, who were all considered ”outsiders”.

Of the eight Assembly segments under Bangalore North, five are represented by the BJP and the rest by the Congress.

Karandlaje is known for indulging in ”communally divisive” speech and polarisation which people don’t want here, alleges Rajeev Gowda, who is making his debut in the Lok Sabha elections.

People want to enjoy a good quality of life and grow and prosper, and don’t want this area to become communally charged and divided, says the former Professor of Indian Institute of Management Bangalore where he taught economics and policy.

The Chairman of the AICC Research Department appeared upbeat about his electoral prospects.

There is no Modi wave in Karnataka in this Lok Sabha election, the 60-year-old claimed.

It’s the five guarantee schemes of the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government delivered within 10 months of coming to power that are helping people who are in trouble, he said. Also, the ”sense of injustice” to Karnataka (in terms of devolution of funds by Centre) and the (dismal) record of the previous BJP government here are what will work in favour of the Congress, he added.

”We did not get proper candidates”, a voter said referring to BJP fielding ”outsiders” here in the last few elections. ”People who were rejected elsewhere have been dumped here on us. We are not happy,” the voter added. Nearly 12,000 voters opted for ‘None Of The Above’ in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls here.

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