Siddramaiah’s son and Yeddyurappa’s son are contesting against each other.
All eyes in Karnataka are on the battle of the sons in Varuna. B. S. Yeddyurappason’s son Vijendra’s decision to take on Siddaramaiah’s son Yathindra in Siddaramaiah’s stronghold raised several eyebrows when it was announced. But the decision has sparked off not just a keen curiosity amongst the parties but sent a strong message to the electorate in the state that true to his style B.S. Yeddyurappa is not fazed by the questions being raised about his ability to lead the BJP into the Karnataka elections 2018.
The constituency, which Siddaramaiah has represented for the last five years, is considered a strong bastion and Vijayendra’s decision triggered a lot of curiosity. Vijayendra is no political green horn and has played a key role in state politics.
In the last few weeks, as he travelled through Varuna, he built a connect with the voters. Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, Vijayendra said, “I must admit I came here on the basis of my father’s advice and his charisma works here, but after going around I have understood that the people’s biggest complaint is that the Chief Minister had never visited the constituency in the past five years”.
On the other hand, Siddaramaiah, who sees Vijayendra’s entry as a frontal attack on his fiefdom, is relying on the network that his son Dr Yathindra has built in the constituency over the last one year.
Dr Yathindra was a reluctant politician and it was the untimely death of his brother and Sidddaramaiah’s elder son Rakesh that changed the situation at home and he entered politics. “I have been touring Varuna for the last one-and-a-half years and have visited every village at least twice or thrice,” Yathindra told the media last week.
There are several other sons and daughters who are in the battlefield this time. BJP president Amit Shah’s road show at Hoskote on the outskirts of Beengaluru was also for one such political son, Sharath Bache Gowda, son of a former minister in Yeddyurappa government Bache Gowda. The tech savvy Sharath Bache Gowda is the new face of BJP politics in Karnataka.
Even in the Congress camp, several gen-nexts are ready for a political debut. Karnataka home minister Ramalinga Reddy’s daughter Soumya Reddy will take the plunge from Jayanagar in Bengaluru. She has been fielded, overriding the complaints of several party workers and aspirants in the Congress. When asked what makes things easier for political sons and daughters to bag tickets, Syed Arshulla, a Congress worker who had quit the party recently, said, “They have someone who can bat for them when the tickets are decided, plus they have deep pockets courtesy their parent. But in the long run, it demotivates loyal party workers like me as we get hesitant to even work on the ground.”
But the trend for grooming political heirs seems to be on the rise in the state and is common amongst all political parties. Law minister T.B. Jayachandra, who represents Sira, will have his son Santosh Jayachandra making a political debut from Chikkanayakanahalli. Congress veteran Shamanur Shivashankarappaand and his son S.S. Mallikarjun will be seeking re-election. Similarly, the father son duo of M. Krishnappa and Priya Krishna are set again to contest.
Incidentally, Priya Krishna, who is into real estate business along with his father, had declared assets worth Rs 910 crore in 2013. In a first for the BJP, the husband-wife duo of Shashikala Jolle and Annasaheb Jolle has been offered tickets from Nippani and Chikkodi-Sadalga, two neighbouring seats.
It is estimated that by the time the final lists are announced on Monday, there might be around 40-50 political heirs across the parties who will test political waters.