In what is the lone victory for the BJP in the bye-elections held to five seats in Karnataka, BY Raghavendra, son for former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa emerged victorious in the Lok Sabha bye-poll in Shimoga on Tuesday. BY Raghavendra secured 4,89,959 votes and won by a comfortable margin of 47,388 votes against his opponent, the Congress-JD(S) candidate Madhu Bangarappa.
Shimoga has been a stronghold of the BJP since Yeddyurappa’s entry to state politics. With Raghavendra’s victory, the party’s strength in the region has been reinforced.
Son of former Chief Minister S Bangarappa, Madhu Bangarappa of the JD(S) was fielded by the ruling alliance to take on Raghavendra. His entry as Raghavendra’s primary opponent had created uncertainty over Raghavendra’s victory. Shivamogga district is dominated by members of the Lingayat community, to which Raghavendra belongs. The district also comprises a large segment of Edigas, followed by Dalits, Brahmins, Muslims, Vokkaligas and OBCs. Besides, there is also a sizable population of the Jains, Rajputs, Christians and also Tamil-speaking people.
“There are over 2.8 lakh Lingayats, followed by Edigas with a small margin, 2.5 lakh Dalits, 2 lakh Edigas, 1.5 lakh Brahmins, 1.2 lakh Muslims and over 60000 Kurubas,” a BJP source said.
Madhu Bangarappa’s entry had given rise to suspicion that the members of the Ediga community would vote for the Congress-JD(S) candidate, thereby breaking the BJP’s vote bank. Moreover, the low voter turnout on polling day had also resulted in uncertainty regarding BY Raghavendra’s victory.
Born on August 16, 1973, BY Raghavendra obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from ATNCC College in Shivamogga. Soon after graduating from college, Raghavendra became involved in local level politics and also help manage the Yeddyurappa family’s educational institutes.
BY Raghavendra also became the Managing Trustee of Prerana Education of Science and Information Technology (PESIT). The family also owns the Mythradevi Nursing College and the Kumudavati School, Junior College and Polytechnic in Shivamogga.
In 2006, BY Raghavendra won the local body elections in Shivamogga. With the help of his father, who was the BJP’s State President, Raghavendra climbed the political ranks and just three years later, was nominated as the candidate to contest in the Lok Sabha Election from Shimoga.
Raghavendra went on to defeat former CM of Karnataka and strongman of Shivamogga – S Bangarappa in the 2009 polls. For the first time, the votes of the Ediga community, which was Bangarappa’s strength had been lured by a newbie in politics.
“He has the support at grassroot level. He knows everyone in Shikaripura and surrounding villages by name. He regularly tours various parts of the district to take stock of the situation and address the issues of farmers. People like him and one of the reasons why it was easier for Raghavendra was because his father worked hard in the 1970s and 1980s for the upliftment of farmers,” a BJP leader in Shivamogga says.
In 2014, when Yeddyurappa returned to the BJP, he resigned as the MLA of Shikaripura to contest the Lok Sabha polls. Raghavendra contested the bye-poll in Shikaripura and won by a large margin.
“As an MP, he has worked towards helping the areca nut farmers in the region and also pushed for the construction of the Anjanapura reservoir, which help irrigate land in several villages. Whenever people in the constituency are in need of money for weddings, festivals, education for their children and for healthcare, he is always there to help them. He is a popular choice,” the source said.