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BJP MP’s son makes going tough for party here

​​Sharath Kumar Bache Gowda, the 37-year-old son of veteran BJP leader BN Bache Gowda, has rebelled against the party’s decision to give ticket to disqualified MLA MTB Nagaraju, has taken the plunge as an Independent, and is proving to be a tough challenger.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Nov 28, 2019, 11.03 AM IST|Original: Nov 28, 2019, 11.03 AM IST
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Bengaluru: When the ruling BJP announced its list of candidates for the December 5 bypolls, Hoskote Assembly segment, about 30 km from Bengaluru, was the first to see the signs of revolt from within the party.

Sharath Kumar Bache Gowda, the young leader who rebelled against the party’s decision to give ticket to disqualified MLA MTB Nagaraju, has taken the plunge as an Independent, and is proving to be a tough challenger.

The 37-year-old son of veteran leader BN Bache Gowda, the sitting BJP Lok Sabha member from Chikkaballapur, has been nurturing the constituency for a long time. He got a shot in the arm this time when the JD(S) announced its support to him probably to ensure that the Vokkaliga votes are not scattered.

JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy has his own score to settle as MTB was among the 17 lawmakers who resigned their Assembly membership and caused his regime to fall in July this year.

The rebel BJP candidate's family is quite deep-rooted in Hoskote. His father represented Hoskote five times in the Assembly, until he lost to MTB, who was the Congress candiddate in the 2013 Assembly elections. Gowda Jr had, in fact, contested against MTB in the 2018 elections and lost by a margin of about 7,000 votes.

Besides MTB and Gowda Jr, there is a third significant candidate in the fray. The Congress has fielded Padmavathi Suresh, wife of Congress MLA from Hebbal Byrathi Suresh to take on the BJP and the Independent candidate.

Political observers feel that the caste factor might work in the Hoskote polls. Past elections in this constituency have seen votes getting divided between the dominant caste Vokkaligas and backward (that includes Kurubas and Tigalas) and minority communities.

This time around, the BJP rebel is hoping to get not just his community votes, but also portions of the traditional BJP votes as he was an active member of the BJP until he was expelled. Those BJP voters unhappy with the choice of the party nominee may also back the rebel.

If grapevine is anything to go by, the Congress had initially decided to field Padmavathi Suresh from KR Puram, where she would have given a tough fight to the family relative, Byrathi Basavaraj, who is contesting as the BJP candidate.

But the party decided to field her from Hoskote, a tougher seat by comparision. It is to be seen how the Kuruba voters will respond as both the Congress and BJP nominees are from the Kuruba community. It will be interesting to see if the community voters will vote for the Congress candidate in a big way as they regard Siddaramaiah as their tall leader, or back the BJP nominee.

Chief minister BS Yediyurappa has already announced that if MTB wins, he will be made a minister, a bait not easy to overlook for sections of the Kuruba community voters.

If the Kuruba and other backward community votes get scattered between the BJP and the Congress, it will work to Gowda’s advantage. Sections of BJP leaders don’t see this happen.

They claim Kurubas and backward communities have already decided to consolidate their votes in favour of MTB. “Voters are aware that if MTB wins the election, he will become a minister. But if they vote for Padmavathi, what will the community get,” asked BJP’s Hoskote election in-charge Sachidananda Murthy.

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