Telugu Vote Can Tip The Scales In Karnataka

Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee president N Raghuveera Reddy  - Sakshi Post

By S Gopinath Reddy

Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee president N Raghuveera Reddy addressed a gathering of members of various Telugu Associations living in Karnataka eliciting their support for Congress party in the May 12 elections.

Fluent in Kannada, Raghuveera Reddy, hailing from Anantapur district which shares a border with Karnataka, has already deputed several senior colleagues from Andhra Pradesh to the neighbouring state. It is no secret that the Telugus residing in Karnataka are large in number. Estimates put the figure at about one crore Telugu speaking people, who had migrated to Karnataka during the last several decades.

Not surprisingly, people of Telugu origin had been playing a key role in Karnataka politics and occupied several important positions in the government over the decades. They are into politics, business, trade, educational institutions, the factor which none of the three main political parties in the electoral fray, can ignore.

Congress has already deputed senior party leaders from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh for campaigning. Former Assembly Speaker Nadendla Manohar, former Union Minister MM Pallam Raju, former MP Madhu Yashki are busy campaigning.

The presence of Telugu-speaking populace in the districts like Bellary, Raichur, Koppala, Davanagere, Tumkur, Kolar, Chikballapur, Bengaluru city and Bengaluru rural district has prompted the Congress and the BJP to rope in leaders from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states. Former Union Minister Krishnam Raju and several other leaders are campaigning for the BJP. It is believed that Telugu speaking people can influence the outcome in at least 40 of the 224 Assembly seats in the state.

JD (S) too received support from Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao which might help the party tipped to play the role of a kingmaker in the event of a hung Assembly.

While Congress is aggressively projecting Chief Minister Siddaramaiah as its candidate for the top post, the BJP seem to be in a state of confusion. Though it has announced Yedyurappa as the chief minister candidate, denial of ticket to his son Vijayendra has left him squirming. He had been trying to put up a brave face, but there seems to be some division in the party cadres with Reddy clan walking away with seven Assembly tickets. The other possible headache for Yedyurappa is the party making an exception for its MP Sriramulu and fielding him from two Assembly seats. In Badami, he is pitted against Siddaramaiah.

A known follower of Gali Janardhan Reddy, Sriramulu is being projected as the tribal face of BJP. Hailing from Valmiki Nayaka community, Sriramulu might pose a headache or two for yedyurappa should the party win enough seats to form the government.

“The corrupt Congress government” campaign of BJP seem to have lost its steam with BJP roping in the Reddy brothers. People are not prepared to buy the argument that Gali Janardhan Reddy has got nothing to do with the BJP. “He is only campaigning for the party,” rhetoric is not going well with voters. Instead, it has given enough fodder for the Congress to expose “double standards of BJP”.

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