Siddaramaiah, who just completed his five years as Chief Minister of Karnataka, has won in Karnataka’s Badami constituency against BJP’s Sriramulu and JD(S)’s Hanumanthappa Mavinamarad, by about 4,000 votes.
Sriramulu, who is a close aide of the scam-tainted Reddy brothers of Ballari, was fielded from here to take on Siddaramaiah, and from Molakalmuru.
After the defeat, Sriramulu remarked by saying that this is not such a big win for Siddaramaiah and it is a fluke.
The battle for the state saw Badami in north Karnataka, a popular tourist destination known for its 6th-century cave temples, turn into an election hotspot. This was also the second seat Siddaramaiah was contesting from, apart from Chamundeshwari. And while this had fuelled the perception that the CM was contesting from Badami as he was unsure of his hold in Chamundeshwari, the strategy seems to have worked well for the Congress.
Siddaramaiah himself belongs to the Kuruba community. Meanwhile, the Congress has also been trying to sway Lingayat votes in their favour with the Cabinet granting minority status to Lingayats. While the ball now lies in the Centre’s court, this is a key step in fulfilling their long-standing demand to be recognised as a separate religion.
The BJP meanwhile, had fielded B Sriramulu in Badami in order to capitalise on Yeddyurappa’s hold over Lingayat votes as well as Sriramulu’s sway over the Valmiki community, to which he belongs.
The defeat is also hard on JD(S) whose candidate, Hanumanthappa Mavinamarad, seemed to be a strong choice, given that he is a local leader. Hanumanthappa is a locally bred leader in Badami and has been in politics for over a decade. Belonging to the Panchamasali sect of the Lingayat community, JD(S) probably hoped that Hunumanthappa’s familiar face would sway the verdict in Badami in their favour.
This is the second consecutive election where a Congress candidate has won in Badami. Congress candidate Chimmanakatti Balappa Bhimappa won in 2013 with 41.31% votes, with JD(S) candidate Mahantesh Gurupadappa Mamadapur coming second with 30.44% votes.