Updated March 7th, 2024 at 18:35 IST

BJP Eyes Lingayat Belt in Karnataka: Bommai, Shettar Likely To Be Fielded in LS Polls

In Karnataka, BJP wishes to repeat the 2019 Lok Sabha performance, when it had swept the state, by winning 25 out of total 28 seats.

Reported by: Apoorva Shukla
BJP may field former CMs of Karnataka Basavaraj Bommai (left) and Jagadish Shetty (right) in the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections | Image: PTI/File
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Lok Sabha Elections 2024: The Bharatiya Janata Party may field may field two of its former Chief Ministers - Basavaraj Bommai and Jagadish Shettar in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from Karnataka, said reports. 

In Karnataka, BJP wishes to repeat the 2019 Lok Sabha performance,  when it had swept the state, by winning 25 out of total 28 seats, and had ensured the win of a party supported independent candidate in Mandya. The Congress and the JD(S), which were running a coalition government back then and fought the election together, had come a cropper winning just one seat each.

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But the political scene has changed significantly; the Congress scored a thumping victory in the Assembly elections in May last year and is preparing to put up a strong show in the Lok Sabha polls.

It is also a role reversal of sorts for JD(S) which joined the BJP-led NDA in September last year and wants to prove that it's still a force to reckon with, particularly in South Karnataka. However, the JDS is likely to contest three seats -- Mandya, Hassan and Kolar.

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Bommai May Be Fielded From Haveri 

Reports suggest that former Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai may be fielded from Haveri, with party's sitting MP Shivakumar Udasi announcing retirement from electoral politics after the current term ends. Bommai is currently MLA from Shiggaon. 

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Belagavi To Be Handed Over To Jagadish Shettar 

While the BJP may field Shettar from Belgaum (Belagavi). Belagum is currently represented by Mangala Angadi, the widow of former Union Minister of State Suresh Angadi. She had won with a margin of over 5,000 votes in 2021 bypolls against the Congress strongman Satish Jarkiholi, when after the seat fell vacant due to her husband's death. However, reports say that the BJP is looking 

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BJP wants to replace Mangala with a strong candidate to retain the seat, and Shettar’s name is doing the rounds as he also happens to be a relative of the Angadi family and was the poll incharge of this seat when she faced the bypoll.

Shettar, who had quit the BJP to join the Congress ahead of the state assembly polls last year on being denied the ticket, rejoined his old party in January. 

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BJP Eyes Lingayat Belt in Karnataka 

In one of the most crucial elections, the BJP seems to be eyeing the Lingayat belt by fielding Bommai and Shettar. Lingayats are seen as the strong vote-base of the BJP in Karnataka. BJP’s tallest leader in Karnataka BS Yediyurappa is also a Lingayat and is credited for bringing the community into BJP’s fold. 

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Yediyurappa Drops Hints 

Former Karnataka Chief Chief minister BS Yediyurappa, also a member of BJP's Parliamentary Board and Central Election Committee, said that discussions have taken place among the core members regarding Bommai and Shettar. Giving indications about this Yediyurappa on Thursday said discussions have taken place regarding candidates for all 28 Lok Sabha seats in the state including Bommai and Shettar, with Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the party's national president J P Nadda, but no final decision has been taken.

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"Yesterday Amit Shah ji, Nadda ji and all of us together discussed candidates for all 28 Lok Sabha seats. Who should be given the ticket has not yet been finalised. All of that will be discussed with the Prime Minister, and we might get clarity in two-three days," Yediyurappa told reporters in the national capital.

He said, “Everything has been discussed, but who will be given a ticket from where has not yet been finalised. Discussions have happened about Bommai and Jagadish Shettar.” 

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(With inputs from agencies) 

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Published March 7th, 2024 at 18:35 IST