Karnataka Election: In Shiggaon, CM BS Bommai Faces Fierce Triangular Fight | India News

HUBBALI: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai is engaged in a tough three-cornered fight in Shiggaon, his bastion. The Congress in a desperate attempt to wrest the seat from Bommai, who has won three times in a row, has again fielded a Muslim candidate, Pathan Yasir Ahamad Khan. Businessman-turned-politician from the Panchamasali Lingayat community, Shashidhar Yeligar is representing the Janata Dal(S).

More than a Janata Dal candidate, Yeligar is a prominent face in the constituency and has deep roots in the Panchamasali Lingayat community which is a powerful Lingayat group. The Congress, according to the local people, should have given the seat to a Panchamasali Lingayat and this would have given sleepless nights to Bommai. However, the presence of a large number of Muslims, around 50,000, led to the Congress thinking of fielding a Muslim again in the constituency.

The Congress had fielded Syed Azeempeer Khadri in the last elections and he had lost to Bommai. Hence it changed the face and fielded Pathan Yasir Ahmad Khan. The Congress is expecting a split in the Lingayat votes between Bommai and Yelligar and the Muslims voting en masse for the Congress candidate. The Congress leaders are of the opinion that with the Muslim votes going entirely to the party, and the Lingayat votes getting split, the possibility of Khan scraping through is very real.

However sources in the Yalligar camp told IANS that there is a tacit understanding between Bommai and the local Congress leadership and this would be the key factor to win the polls. While Bommai is touring other constituencies, his wife Chennamma and son Bharath are campaigning on his behalf. When asked about the tacit understanding with the Congress, Bharat told IANS, “There is no such thing. This is a laughable question. We are fighting against each other and my father has been very popular in the constituency even before he was Chief Minister and he is popular among local people even now. So there is no doubt and he is winning the seat easily with a higher margin.”

In the 2018 assembly elections Bommai defeated Syed Azeempur Khadri by a margin of 8765 votes with Bommai receiving 83,368 votes, and Khadri 74,603 votes. The JD(S) candidate Ashok Bevinamar received 1353 votes. An independent candidate, Somanna garnered 7203 votes. In this election the Congress has a fresh face in Pathan Yasir Ahmad Khan while JD(S) candidate Shashidhar Yeligar is very popular in the constituency. 

The only advantage Bommai has and he is campaigning extensively on it is that he will again be the Chief Minister, if the BJP comes back to power. If this strikes resonance with the voters, Bommai will romp home with a good majority. However, the Muslim vote bank and the split in the Lingayat votes can be the undoing of Bommai.

Another factor that is worrying the Bommai camp is the narrative that the Congress has woven around Jagadish Shettar. There is a feeling among the Lingayat community that Bommai has played second fiddle to the Brahmin lobby in the BJP comprising BL Santosh and Pralhad Joshi to oust Shettar from the party. If this recoils, then the situation will become worse for Bommai.

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