“Son rise” on the horizon in Shikaripura as Vijayendra makes electoral foray

11:36 AM May 02, 2023 | PTI |

Will it be ”son rise” this time in the BJP bastion of Shikaripura in Shivamogga district? The Vice-President of the party’s state unit B Y Vijayendra is making his entry into electoral politics in the May 10 Assembly elections, from this seat vacated by his father and former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa.


This is the first time in four decades that this high-profile constituency will be going to polls without Yediyurappa in the fray.

The Congress has fielded Goni Malatesh, who lost to Yediyurappa in the previous Assembly election (2018) by over 35,000 votes while S P Nagaraja Gowda, a Congress rebel, is contesting as an independent candidate.

While Yediyurappa secured 86,983 votes in 2018, Malatesh polled 51,586 votes.

Many Congress workers in the segment were expecting Gowda to get the ticket, but it was not to be.


There are some in Shikaripura who believe that Gowda is likely give a good fight to Vijayendra, as anti-Yeddyurappa family votes in the segment, also those upset with Congress, and looking for change, in addition to his own supporters, are bound to solidly rally behind him.

Gowda is also hoping to galvanise the support of ‘Sadar Lingayat’ community, which has considerable presence in Shikaripura, along with gaining the backing of the Banjara community, who are reportedly upset with the ruling BJP, after it announced internal reservations among SCs, and had even stoned Yediyurappa’s Shikaripura residence during a recent protest.

”Despite not being an official candidate from any party, people have shown a lot of love and support to me. Missing the Congress ticket in a way will help me as public sympathy is in my favour and it will help my victory,” Gowda said, adding that ”people fed up with 40 years of BJP rule in Shikaripura are supporting me.” However, according to a section of Congress workers and those in the BJP, Gowda’s presence in the fray will hamper the Congress’ prospects and end up helping Vijayendra instead.

Also there was speculation in Shikaripura’s political circles that Malatesh was given the Congress ticket once again, as part of ”understanding politics” between political leaders of BJP and Congress, to make the road easy for Vijayendra.

Malatesh, however, pointing out that he had got 51,586 votes against BJP’s tall leader like Yediyurappa in the 2018 polls, has expressed confidence about a positive result in his favour this time. Yediyurappa and Vijayendra, a prominent young face of the BJP in Karnataka and the former’s political heir apparent, are upbeat about the prospects of the party retaining the seat.

”Party has given me an opportunity to contest from Shikaripura, I’m campaigning and interacting with people with ease. There is nothing to worry as my father and elder brother B Y Raghavendra (Shivamogga MP) have done lots of developmental work here. Also we have a strong team of ‘Karayakartas’ here, there is no boundary to their affection. Based on all these I will win,” Vijayendra has said.

Stating that it doesn’t mean he is taking his opponents lightly, he said, ”It is my first election, and taking it seriously I’m repeatedly touring the constituency and the villages here.” ”This election is important for Vijayendra, not just for the sake of winning, but to shape his future as a leader within the BJP in the backdrop of generational shift taking place,” a party functionary said.

The Lingayat strongman and four-time Chief Minister Yediyurappa had represented this seat eight times since 1983, and had lost once in 1999. In 2013, Yediyurappa won as a candidate of Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP) which he floated after breaking away from the BJP. He returned to the BJP in 2014.

In July last year, Yediyurappa announced that he will not be contesting the Assembly polls, and will be vacating his Shikaripura seat, where Vijayendra will be the candidate, if the high command agrees.

Though there was speculation that Vijayendra may contest from Varuna against Congress leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, the father-son duo finally decided to stick with the traditional seat of Shikaripura. Vijayendra was appointed as the party Vice President in July, 2020. He was named as BJP youth wing general secretary, soon after he was denied a party ticket to contest from Varuna in Mysuru district, ahead of the May 2018 Assembly polls, at the last minute.

His stakes increased in the party as he was credited by many to have played a key role in BJP’s first-ever victory in K R Pet and Sira Assembly segments during the by-polls held in 2019 and 2020 respectively. Ten candidates are in the fray in Shikaripura, which has a total of 1,98,808 electoral population, including 99,781 male voters.


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