Will Manje Gowda emerge as a giant killer in Holenarsipur?

Hassan: A stronghold of the Janata Dal (S) for over six decades, Holenarsipur last saw  a Congress win in 1999. But undeterred, the party has fielded former president of the state government employees’ association, B P Manje Gowda, against former Minister, H D Revanna of the Janata Dal (S), who has won the last three elections from the constituency, these polls. Keen to put the brakes on the success run of the JD(S) , the  Congress has done some caste calculations in  fielding Mr Manje Gowda and hopes it will be enough for him to turn giant-killer.

While the Vokkaligas are dominant in the constituency as a whole, their two sub-castes, Mullu and Dasa, are rivals in politics. 

Knowing that Mr Revanna is a Mullu Vokkaliga, the Congress opted for Mr Manje Gowda, a Dasa Vokkaliga, who constitute about 45,000 of the voters in Holenarsipur. 

The Mullu Vokkaligas are only 35,000 strong by comparision and as a result the Congress hopes Mr Manje Gowda’s appeal to his sub-caste and backward classes, who  traditionally back it, will be enough for the party to romp home from the constituency. But local leaders rule out the possibility of the caste factor working against Mr  Revanna and believe it will be  tough to defeat him unless   both Mr Manje Gowda and Ms Anupama, who were defeated in the previous polls, come together to trounce the JD(S).

Mr Javagal Manjunath, district Congress president, says the party will try to persuade disgruntled leader Anupama to work for Mr Manje Gowda’s success.  But even so, it’s believed  that it will be a close fight in Holenarispur  and no candidate can hope for anything but a slender margin of victory.

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