Siddaramaiah's ace: Old rival to beat BS Yeddyurappa

CM keen on fielding Lingayat leader Mahalingappa against BJP top gun.

Bengaluru: Hoping to do a repeat of the 1999 Assembly poll, which saw state BJP chief, B.S. Yeddyurappa taste his first defeat in Shikaripur , Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is reportedly planning to field the former’s nemesis of all those years ago, Mahalingappa, once again in 2018 from the constituency, according to party sources.

Although Mahalingappa, an advocate and a Lingayat leader, had joined the BJP in the years afterwards, he has been persuaded to return to the Congress by Siddaramaiah, sources reveal.

The Congress reportedly believes Yeddyurappa’s popularity is waning in his home district and is hoping to take advantage of it by fielding a strong candidate against him in the coming poll. At a meeting of Congress legislators from Shivamogga district recently, a few legislators were all for taking Mr Mahalingappa back into the Congress so he could give the BJP strongman a tough fight on his home turf.

The Congress has also decided to pump in crores of rupees on developmental works in the district to woo voters, according to sources. “Mr Yeddyurappa is not as powerful as he was in 2008 and has lost the killer instinct. He has become unpopular in his own district after he quit the BJP to form the Karnataka Janata Party (KJP). Although he returned to the BJP later, he lost the faith of the people of his constituency,” claimed a few Congress leaders.

But dismissing such talk as baseless, BJP leader, K.S. Eshwarappa claims that no one can defeat Yeddyurappa in Shikaripur in the 2018 Assembly poll. “The Congress took back Mahalingappa only because it does not have a Lingayat leader to take on Yeddyurappa. But I am confident he will be elected to the Assembly with a big margin,” he added.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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