Bengaluru: After a shaky start, JD(S) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda has finally entered calm waters in Tumakuru following a week of hard bargaining by DyCM G. Parameshwar with sparring Congress and JD(S) leaders in the constituency.
On announcing his choice of constituency, Mr Gowda was confronted with a discontented sitting MP and fellow Vokkaliga, Muddahanume Gowda, who was upset at being replaced by him as the candidate and rebellion from two other prominent Congress leaders. But the talks seem to have calmed ruffled feathers at last.
But with the elections now barely nine days away, he has a lot of work to do, notes a JD(S) leader from Tumakuru. While Mr Mudduhanume Gowda had managed to win twice from the constituency, where the BJP has a strong presence, his personal rapport with the people having contributed mainly to his victory even during the Modi wave in 2014, Mr Deve Gowda is not a local and does not share the same equation with the voters. This could bring caste into play in a big way. Going by these calculations, the JD(S) claims he could win most of the four lakh Vokkaliga votes and all the 1.75 lakh minority votes. The SC/STs too could swing his way, but most believe he could find it near to impossible to appeal to the Kurubas, Lingayats and Tigalas voters, who constitute a large chunk of the people.
But his biggest problem could be with young voters, aged between 18 and 30, who account for one lakh votes, as they are inclined to be right wing.
Unlike Mr Deve Gowda, his grandson Prajwal Revanna, who started on a confident note in Hassan, the constituency he vacated for him, is now finding his BJP opponent A Manju growing in strength.
A week after filing his nomination, Mr Manju is leading in Hassan town as well as in neighbouring Sakaleshpur, home to coffee plantations. Surprisingly, Belur, which Mr Prajwal had nurtured for three years, doesn’t seem to be keen on him on these polls.
And like his grandfather, he too could find young voters turning their backs on him owing to their pro-BJP leanings....