Telugus help Congress in Karnataka cliffhanger

Play key role in deciding winners in 30 seats, to hurt BJP.

Hyderabad: The game changer in the three-cornered fight between the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Janata Dal (S) in the upcoming Karnataka Assembly elections could be 30 constituencies influenced by Telugu voters. Though none of the Telugu Chief Ministers have endorsed the Congress in Karnataka, their interventions in the neighbour state’s elections is helping the Congress. A few pro-YSR Congress supporters, however, could vote for the BJP.
According to Karnata-ka political circles, an estimated 15 per cent of Karnataka’s population is Telugu-speaking, and their votes can make a difference in 12 districts.

Given the close race between the Congress, BJP and the Janata Dal (S) in many constituencies, the shifting of even a small number of votes may change the results. Bengaluru urban and rural, Chikkaballapura, Kolar, Tumakuru, Chitradurga, Ballari, Koppal, Raichur, Kalaburgi, Yad-gir and Bidar are the districts in which Telugu-speaking voters exert an influence, said AICC secretary Gidugu Rudra Raju, who is also campaigning in Karnataka.

While Mr Rao has appe-aled to Telugu speakers to vote for the Janata Dal (S), AP CM Naidu has cal-led for the BJP's defeat, without specifying an alternative. During his recent visit to Benga-luru, Andhra Pradesh deputy Chief Minister K.E. Krishna Murthy also called on Telugu voters to vote against the BJP. The AICC leader said the calls by both the Telugu CMs are helping Congress candidates, particularly in rural areas.

He, however, said that 12 lakh Telugu voters in Bengaluru have got divided into three groups. While the pro-YSRC voters and those in Reddy-influenced areas may vote for the BJP, the remaining will vote for Congress and Janata Dal (S). In rural areas, Congress candidates will enjoy the support of Telugu voters, he said.So far, no leaders from either the TRS or TD have campaigned for the elections, though Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president N. Raghuveera Reddy and other APCC leaders are campaigning in constituencies influenced by Telugu people.

“Telugu people of Karnataka are angry with the BJP than the Congress, because of its refusal to grant special status to AP as was promised during the 2014 election,” Mr Raju said. Incidentally, the TD may not be campaigning physically, but it has launched an online campaign. A senior TD leader had recently visited Bengaluru to oversee it. In the campaign, the pro-TD Telugu voters are talking about the gross injustice done to AP by the BJP, and asking others to vote against the party. They have also been conducting community meetings with the Telugu speaking voters and asking them to vote against the BJP.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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