A bumpy ride likely for Bache Gowda
BY T VENKATESH BABU
DH NEWS SERVICE, HOSKOTE:
If the electoral history of Hoskote Assembly constituency is anything to go by, B N Bache Gowda, member of the dissolved Assembly, should well be on his way to Vidhana Soudha for the fifth time. But, things do not appear as smooth for the senior JD (S) leader as it is for the Congress candidate, M T B Nagaraj, is all set to give Mr Gowda a run for his money.
Bache Gowda has won from this highly sensitive constituency in 1978, ‘85, ‘94 and ‘99. The only time he lost was in 1989, when a strong Congress wave swept the State. This time too, Mr Gowda exudes ‘200 per cent’ confidence of winning. His confidence is not unfounded as he has been consistently polling about 70,000 votes (a winning total in the constituency), irrespective of any ‘wave’. If anything has varied, it is only the winning margin.
But this year’s election is a different ball game as the equations have changed. First, it is not a ‘battle of Gowdas’ anymore. In decades, Congress has fielded a non-Vokkaliga candidate in Nagaraj, a Kuruba. This has naturally led to caste polarisation. Nagaraj is trying hard to mobilise the backward classes, especially Kurubas (about 30,000 voters). If the backward classes and SC/STs (46,000 voters), who are politically overshadowed by Vokkaligas despite being the largest chunk of voters, see this as an opportunity to usurp power, Nagaraj may well create history.
On the other hand, Vokkaligas (about 52,000 voters) are pulling up their socks realising that their dominance is under threat. As a result, senior Congressman and former minister Chikke Gowda has joined JD (S). This has come as a shot in the arm for Bache Gowda, who is also a Vokkaliga.
It will surely go down to the wire. But, Bache Gowda appears a tad ahead of Nagaraj as of now. The BJP has no significant presence here.