Geetha Shivarajkumar Enters High-Stakes Lok Sabha Battle in Shivamogga

Geetha Shivarajkumar, daughter of former Karnataka Chief Minister S Bangarappa, is contesting the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections from Shivamogga on a Congress ticket. The election has turned into a three-way battle with BJP leader K S Eshwarappa running as an independent candidate, citing a rebellion against his party.

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Geetha Shivarajkumar Enters High-Stakes Lok Sabha Battle in Shivamogga

Geetha Shivarajkumar Enters High-Stakes Lok Sabha Battle in Shivamogga

Geetha Shivarajkumar, the daughter of former Karnataka Chief Minister S Bangarappa and wife of film actor Shivaraj Kumar, has thrown her hat into the ring for the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections. She is contesting from the Shivamogga constituency on a Congress ticket, setting the stage for a fierce three-way battle in the BJP stronghold. The third phase of voting is scheduled for May 7.

Why this matters: The outcome of this election will not only impact the political scenario of Karnataka but also have implications for thenational politics, as it may influence the balance of power in the Lok Sabha. Additionally, the election result will be seen as a referendum on the performance of the BJP government in the state and the Centre.

The political scene in Shivamogga has been shaken by the entry of longtime BJP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister K S Eshwarappa as an independent candidate. Eshwarappa's rebellion stems from his son being denied the ticket from Haveri, leading him to challenge his longtime colleague and former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa's son B Y Raghavendra, the sitting MP. Eshwarappa declared,"Many BJP workers have joined me to teach them (BSY's family) a lesson. You go to villages and you will see the kind of support I am getting. Congress candidate Geetha Shivaraj Kumar is a dummy candidate fielded by BJP itself as there is an understanding between the families."

The Congress party sees an opportunity in the division of BJP votes and is banking on Geetha Shivarajkumar's appeal to secure a victory in Shivamogga. Belonging to the OBC Ediga community, which boasts 2.5 lakh voters in the constituency, Geetha Shivarajkumar is expected to garner significant support. The constituency has a total of 17.5 lakh voters, with 2.8 lakh Lingayats forming the BJP's traditional vote base. Additionally, there are 1.5 lakh voters each from the Scheduled Caste (SC), Vokkaliga, and Brahmin communities, along with 1.35 lakh Muslim voters.

The Congress campaign in Shivamogga received a significant boost with the presence of senior party leaders. AICC President Mallikarjun Kharge and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah addressed a rally at Allamaprabhu Maidan in support of Geetha Shivarajkumar. Kharge launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of spreading lies and failing to fulfill his guarantees. He emphasized that only the Congress has implemented its promised guarantees and highlighted the party's achievements in Karnataka, particularly the land reforms introduced by Indira Gandhi, which benefited lakhs of people in the district.

Kharge noted, "Shivamogga is known for many intellectuals, and several social movements began here. Shivamogga was among the first few districts where land reforms were introduced. When Indira Gandhi introduced land reforms as Prime Minister, did Congress snatch anybody's land and give it to others? We gave land to the needy as per the Land Reforms Act." He further added, "We did not snatch mangalsutras or check people's almirahs for money. But Modi is spreading lies. He doesn't talk about poor people and unemployment. Modi keeps telling lies that land, mangalsutras and other valuables will be snatched. Don't trust what Modi tells. We are in favour of the poor."

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah accused the 25 BJP MPs from Karnataka of failing to speak out against the "injustice" done to the state by the Union government. "None of the 25 BJP MPs from the state spoke about the injustice done to Kannadigas by the Centre," he said. "The state is being treated unfairly in the distribution of tax money. Although Rs 5,300 crore was announced in the Union budget for Upper Bhadra Project, not even a single paisa was released. Though the state is facing drought, the Centre released less than 20% of the funds sought by the state. That too, after the state moved the Supreme Court."

State BJP president Vijayendra dismissed Eshwarappa's challenge, stating, "The discussion has to be whether Eshwarappa is going to

Key Takeaways

  • Geetha Shivarajkumar, daughter of former Karnataka CM, contests Shivamogga Lok Sabha seat on Congress ticket.
  • Three-way battle expected with BJP's B Y Raghavendra and independent K S Eshwarappa, a former BJP leader.
  • Eshwarappa's rebellion stems from his son being denied BJP ticket, alleges Congress candidate is a "dummy" fielded by BJP.
  • Congress banks on Geetha's appeal to OBC Ediga community, which has 2.5 lakh voters in the constituency.
  • Senior Congress leaders, including AICC President Mallikarjun Kharge, campaign for Geetha, attacking PM Modi and BJP government.