Karnataka BJP president B S Yeddyurappa will contest from North Karnataka instead of Shikaripura in the 2018 assembly polls, his media adviser said today. The former chief minister took this decision in the interest of the party after the central leadership suggested him to contest from North Karnataka, the Lingayat Leader’s Media Advisor Anand Vijayender told PTI here. However, no decision has been taken about the assembly constituency from which he will contest, Vijayender said. “Yedduyurappa readily gave in to the central leadership’s suggestion as his interests are in line with the BJP’s,” he said.
According to political observers, the decision of Yeddyurappa to contest from North Karnataka is to counter the Congress’ strategy to divide Lingayat votes by raising the issue of separate religion tag to Lingayats. A majority of the Lingayat community resides in northern parts of Karnataka and mostly vote for the BJP in assembly and Lok Sabha elections. Shikaripura, which falls in Shimoga district of Central Karnataka, has been Yeddyurappa’s bastion for long.
He has won the Shikaripura seat since its conversion from reserve constituency to general category from 1983 for six times up to 2008, when he bagged the seat with a huge margin against political stalwart and former chief minister late S Bangarappa, except in 1999.