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Vokkaliga seers meeting DK Shivakumar may impact bypoll outcome

Express News Service

TUMAKURU: The bypolls to Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Sira seats, the first such election after D K Shivakumar took over as KPCC president, could serve as a litmus test of his leadership. The fact that Vokkaliga religious heads have met him despite the recent IT raids on his properties, is expected to play a significant role in the bypolls. 

The young religious head of Spatikapuri Gurugunda Mutt Sri Nanjavadhuta of Pattanayakanahalli in Sira taluk, has always express solidarity with community leaders who have faced adverse circumstances. When the BJP removed D V Sadananda Gowda from the CM’s post in July 2012, the swami had hit the streets. He recently visited Shivakumar to show moral support. 

The religious head is also close to former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda’s family and reportedly blessed former minister late B Sathyanarayana during the 2018 assembly polls. Though he is averse to T B Jayachandra of the Congress, the seer may now support him, given the Shivakumar factor. Adichunchanagiri Mutt head Sri Nirmalanandanatha Swami had also called on Shivakumar, which could have a similar impact on the bypolls. 

The Kunchitiga Vokkaliga Swami’s influence is also considerable in the area, with Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa’s son B Y Vijayendra too taking his blessings during his maiden visit to Sira recently.  There is a strong Vokkaliga flavour to the bypolls, with the Congress opting for candidates from the community for both seats. In RR Nagar, the party candidate is H Kusuma, wife of late IAS officer DK Ravi.

Both Sira and RR Nagar have a considerable number of Vokkaliga votes — Kunichitiga Vokkaliga leader B Sathyanarayana had won Sira for JDS, while Muniratna Naidu won RR Nagar for the Congress. “Vokkaligas will not go after JDS and former CM H D Kumaraswamy alone, and it’s evident from the fact that H D Deve Gowda lost in Tumakuru and Nikhil Kumaraswamy in Mandya in the 2019 parliamentary polls,” Opposition leader Siddaramaiah remarked on Sunday. JDS, BJP still waiting, watching

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