Debacle in Kalaburagi a big setback to Mallikarjun Kharge

Kalaburagi: Will the poor showing of the Congress in the assembly segments covered by his Kalaburagi parliamentary constituency, cost senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls?

For the first time since Mr Kharge threw his hat into the Lok Sabha poll ring in 2009, he is facing an adverse situation on the ground with the BJP wresting control of four of the nine Assembly constituencies falling in his Kalaburagi LS constituency. While the BJP’s win in Yadgir, Sedam, Kalaburagi  Rural and Kalaburagi South has given it a shot in the arm in a region seen as a Congress stronghold, the mood in the Congress is far from upbeat as it has won only from Chittapur, Jewargi, Afzalpur and Kalaburagi North as against its tally of 8 in 2013.

Although Mr Kharge’s son, Priyank Kharge, managed to snatch victory from the jaw’s of defeat in Chittapur, the loss of Gurmumitkal (to JDS), which he had represented for a record eight times in the assembly and of Sedam , which his trusted lieutenant, Dr Sharanprakash Patil, had won from thrice, is a major setback for him.

The loss of Yadagir, which was seen as a safe seat for Congress, and  Gulbarga Rural is also a slap in the face for him as he is said to  wield considerable influence in both constituencies. Mr Kharge will have to contend with the challenge posed by Afzalpur strongman Malikayya Guttedar, who has vowed to taken him on. 

Although the Kharges were able to show him the door these polls, Mr Guttedar is believed to be preparing ground to launch an offensive against the senior Kharge in the coming LS poll. The BJP is likely to field Subash Rathore, former ZP vice-president against him in the 2019 poll.

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