Hubballi: The battle for the Bagalkot Lok Sabha constituency seems to be a proxy one between former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and senior BJP leader, K S Eshwarappa, as they woo the Kuruba community they belong to for their respective parties.
The Bagalkot district Kuruba Sangh has, however, maintained equi-distance from both parties so far, but is likely to take a decision on where its loyalties lie in two or three days.
The Kurubas account for around 3.80 lakh votes in the 17 lakh strong electorate of the Bagalkot Lok Sabha constituency. It was they who came to the rescue of Mr Siddaramaiah, who was struggling to win from Badami the last assembly poll, helping him to scrape through by a margin of a mere 1,700 votes.
Things looked daunting for a while for the Congress after it gave the Bagalkot ticket to a Lingayat, Veena Kashappanavar, and not a Kuruba as demanded by the community. Mr Siddaramaiah, however, managed to placate them by pointing out that the party had already fielded Kuruba candidates in Koppal, Mysuru-Kodagu and Davangere.
“We had requested both the Congress and BJP to give a ticket to a Kuruba in Bagalko and are upset that the Congress has not allowed second and third rung leaders to grow within the community. We will reveal the stand of the Kuruba Sangh in the next few days,” said Bagalkot Zilla Kuruba Sangh general secretary, Shashikant Udagatti.
Meanwhile, Mr Eshwarappa, who has been camping in the district, has trained his guns on Mr Siddaramaiah, alleging that the Congress had hatched a conspiracy to divide the Lingayats.
“Congress leaders, Siddaramaiah and Vinay Kulkarni have admitted that they committed a blunder by trying to divide the community. Their conspiracy backfired on them in the previous Assembly elections,” he tells the people.
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