Hubbali: The tourist town of Badami came to a grinding halt with Congress and BJP workers taking out huge processions in a show of strength as both Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Valmiki strongman, B Sriramulu of the saffron party arrived to file their nomination papers from the constituency on Tuesday.
Jubilant Congress workers danced along the streets in the sweltering heat and thousands of Kurubas carried palanquins covered with a woollen blanket – the symbol of their community – to welcome Mr Siddaramaiah, a Kuruba himself, as the procession made its way from Basaveshwar Circle to the tahasildar’s office, paralysing traffic.
The workers performed the Dollu Kunita, a traditional folk dance and showered petals on Mr Siddaramaiah as soon as he entered the town and women in decorated bullock carts sang folk songs highlighting the pro-poor schemes launched by his government.
The CM performed a pooja at Banashankari temple before filing his nomination papers. Later, during a roadshow he garlanded a picture of 12th century social reformer, Basavanna and addressed a mammoth rally at the Kalidasa Education Society ground. Earlier, on arriving in Hubballi on a special flight, the Chief Minister said he was confident the people of Badami would elect him with a huge margin. The BJP procession was no less impressive with around 4,000 workers jubilantly joining in, celebrating Mr Sriramulu’s candidature, announced on Monday.
Although Mr Sriramulu filed his papers as a BJP candidate, two other strong contenders for the ticket, Mahantesh Mamadapur and M K Pattanashetty also filed their poll papers as independents, a fallback in case Mr Sriramulu’s papers don’t stand up to scrutiny.
Party leaders, however claimed that three nominations had been filed on the directions of the party top brass.
Later Mr Sriramulu visited the Shivayogi Mandir, the power centre of Veerashaiva seers, and performed pooja at the Banashankari, Marutheshwar and Mahakuteshwar temples. Claiming he was confident of winning from Badami, Mr Sriramulu maintained the constituency was a stronghold of the BJP.
“The contest is like an epic Mahabharat battle. I will win the election as the Chief Minister’s caste calculations will not work here,” he declared.
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