B Sriramulu: I am ready for Badami battle, but

Ballari: Ballari BJP Lok Sabha member Mr B Sriramulu, said he is ready to contest from the Badami assembly seat in Bagalkot district. There is no official confirmation from the BJP yet but speculative reports are doing the rounds that he may be the chosen one to take on Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in Badami.

"So far I have not received any instructions from the high command, Being a sincere party worker, I will abide by the party's decision on contesting from Badami", Mr Sriramulu added. Speaking to reporters at Gadag on Sunday, the state BJP vice-president said Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, afraid of losing the election in his home constituency Chamundeshwari assembly constituency in Mysuru, was keen on contesting from Badami. “As a chief minister for a full five-year term, if he is not confident of winning from his home constituency, how can he expect the Congress to win more seats in the state and come to power,” he asked and added that the BJP would come to power in the state.

Party sources said, the BJP high command is mulling fielding Mr Sriramulu from the Badami seat against CM Siddaramaiah who will be filing his nomination papers for Badami seat on Monday. This is  part of the strategy devised by the BJP under the leadership of party president Amit Shah at a meeting held at the residence of party leader Mr Govind Karjol in Bagalkot last week.

It is said that local leaders of the party are in favour of fielding Sriramulu, for various strategic reasons.The strategy is to wean away the votes of the Valmiki community, to which Sriramulu belongs, from the Congress, besides wooing voters of the Lingayat-Veerashaiva communities, given that B.S. Yeddyurappa, a Lingayat, is the BJP's chief ministerial candidate.

It will also help retain current BJP MLA S Thippeswamy as the party's nominee in Molakalmuru, as he is sulking after Sriramulu's name was announced for Molakalmuru in Chitradurga district. The saffron party is also counting on the votes of the Scheduled Tribes, who are in good numbers in the constituency. 

Former minister and sitting Badami MLA B.B. Chimmanakatti, who has represented the constituency five times since 1978 and belongs to the Kuruba community, had so far thrived on the division in Lingayat votes, which the BJP now wants to consolidate.

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