Siddaramaiah to Yeddyurappa: Ten key candidates in Karnataka elections

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Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is contesting from two seats; his main rival and Bharatiya Janata Party’s chief ministerial candidate B.S. Yeddyurappa is fighting from his traditional seat and Janata Dal (Secular) leader has put his bet in two constituencies.
Siddaramaiah, Congress, Chamundeshwari and Badami
Siddaramaiah was elected Chief Minister of Karnataka after the Congress won the 2013 elections. Siddaramaiah, 68, belongs to the Kuruba Gowda sheperd community and one newspaper profile in 2013 said he used to graze cattle as a child. Siddaramaiah rose from his modest background to study law and enter politics.
Siddaramaiah, who only goes by one name, began his political career in 1978, after he was elected to the Mysuru Taluk Board. In 1983, he won from the Chamundeshwari assembly constituency on a Bharatiya Lok Dal ticket. He joined the ruling Janata Party and in 1994 he was appointed the minister of finance in the state government headed by mentor Deve Gowda. After the Janata Party split, Siddaramaiah joined the Janata Dal (Secular) and had two stints as Karnataka’s deputy chief minister. He joined the Congress in 2006 after differences with Deve Gowda, who now led the Janata Dal (Secular). Siddaramaiah, who has fought a high-octane election campaign showcasing his government’s work and taking on the BJP on social media, has declared that this will be his last election. He is contesting elections from two constituencies, his base Chamundeshwari in Mysuru and Badami in North Karnataka, where the Congress is banking on him to improve its standing.
BS Yeddyurappa, BJP, Shikaripura
Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yeddyurappa, 75, is the Bharatiya Janata Party’s chief ministerial candidate for the Karnataka polls. He was the Chief Minister of the state from 2008 to 2011. Yeddyurappa entered politics after a long association with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the Hinvdutva ideology organisation which is often described as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s ideological guide.
In 1988, he became the state president of the BJP in Karnataka. Yeddyurappa briefly occupied the chief ministerial post for a week in 2007, but the BJP’s coalition with the JD(S) collapsed over power-sharing. In 2008, he steered the BJP to victory and became the party’s first Chief Minister in a southern state. However, in 2011, he had to resign after charges of profiting from illegal mining and land deals. Yeddyurappa floated his own party, the Karnataka Janata Paksha in 2012, but returned to the BJP a year later. He is contesting from the Shikaripura, a seat which he has won six times.
H.D. Kumaraswamy, JD (S), Ramanagara and Channapatna
Haradanahalli Devegowda Kumaraswamy is the president of the Janata Dal (Secular) and served as the Chief Minister of Karnataka from 2006 to 2008.
He is the son of H.D. Dewe Gowda, India’s former prime minister and the founder of the JD(S).
Kumaraswamy, 59, entered politics in 1996 to win the Kanakapura Lok Sabha seat in the general elections. In 2004, Kumaraswamy led the JD(S) to walkout of an alliance with the Congress party, after the chief ministerial berth went to Congress’ Dharam Singh. In 2006, with the Bharatiya Janata Party’s support, Kumaraswamy became the Karnataka Chief Minister for a year.
Popularly known as Kumaranna, he is being projected as the CM-in-waiting by the JD(S). Kumaraswamy is contesting from the Ramanagara constituency, from where he has won the last three elections as well as the neighboring town of Channapatna.
G Parameshwara, Congress, Koratagere
Parameshwara Gangadharaiah, or G. Parameshwara, is the president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee. He was a agricultural scientist when he joined the Congress at Rajiv Gandhi’s urging in 1989.
Parameshwara, 66, belongs to a prominent Dalit family that owns the Siddhartha group of educational institutions in Tumkur. He started off as the joint secretary of the Karnataka Congress Committee. From 1999 to 2004, he served as minister of state in the SM Krishna-lead Karnataka government. In the current Siddaramaiah government, he was the home minister from 2015 till 2017, when he resigned to look after the Congress’ election campaign. He is contesting from the Koratagere seat for the third consecutive time. In 2013, he lost the seat to the Janata Dal(Secular). Winning the seat in these polls is critical to his chances of being considered a potential chief ministerial candidate.
B. Sriramulu, BJP, Molkalmuru and Badami
B. Sriramulu is the Bharatiya Janata Party’s MP from Bellary district. Sriramulu emerged as a state-wide leader in 2008, with a strong support base of the Valmiki Nayaka community he belongs to.
Sriramulu, 46, is considered to be close to the controversial Reddy brothers, who face allegation of illegal mining and corruption. Sriramulu, along with tainted mining baron G. Janardhan Reddy, played an important role in establishing the first BJP government in South India after party leader B.S. Yeddyurappa won the 2008 Karnataka elections. In 2011, when the mining scandal broke out, Sriramulu rebelled against the BJP and subsequently won as an Independent candidate in Bellary (Rural) in the by-election. He floated his own party, the BSR Congress, before merging it with the BJP in 2014.
In the these elections, the BJP has fielded Sriramulu from Molakalmuru, a Congress bastion, and from Badami, where he is pitted against current Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
G. Karunakara Reddy, BJP, Harapanahalli
G Karunakara Reddy, 56, is the eldest of the Reddy brothers, the mining barons who were probed by the Karnataka Lokayukta scanner for allegedly illegal mining in 2011. The Reddy brothers started as small-time businessmen, but a foray into the mining industry brought fortune as well as considerable political influence in Bellary. The brothers made an entry into politics in 1999. In 2008, Karunakara won the Harapanhalli seat on a BJP ticket, and he, along with younger brother Janardhan Reddy, were made ministers in the BS Yeddyurappa-government. The BJP is relying on the Bellary brothers’ influence to win in Karnataka, and the Reddy brothers and their friend Sriramulu, have managed to secure six tickets for family and friends.
KS Eshwarappa, BJP, Shivamogga
KS Eshwarappa is leader of opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Council. The 69-year old veteran politician has held cabinet positions in previous BJP governments in the state and served as the deputy Chief Minister in the Jagadish Shettar-lead government from 2012 to 2013.
Eshwarappa started out as a protégé of BJP’s chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa, but they are now political rivals.
The BJP’s decision to field Eshwarappa from Shivamogga City constituency, was seen as an attempt to end the rift between him and Yeddyurappa, who wanted to field his loyalist from the seat. For Eshwarappa, the 2018 elections are crucial since he lost the 2013 polls by a huge margin.
Yathindra Siddaramaiah, Congress, Varuna
The younger son of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, 38-year-old Yathindra is making his poll debut in the 2018 elections. Seen as a reluctant politician, the quiet, introvert Yathindra is a pathologist by profession. He had chosen to stay away from politics till the untimely death of his older brother in 2016 .
Yathindra will be contesting from Varuna in Mysuru, a seat his father Siddaramaiah has won in the last two elections with big margins. The constituency was being pitched as the ‘battle of first sons’ when Yeddyurappa’s second son, B.Y. Vijayendra, started campaigning there, but the BJP eventually chose to field its media coordinator Thothadappa Basavaraju from the seat.
Madhu Bangarappa, JD(S), Sorab
Madhu Bagarappa is the Janata Dal (Secular) MLA from Sorab constituency and the son of former Karnataka Chief Minister S. Bangarappa. Before joining politics, Bangarappa was a movie actor and producer. He was the president of the party’s youth wing and in 2013 he was elected as the chief whip of the JD(S). The Bangarappa family rift will play out in Sorab in the upcoming polls, as Madhu is set to face off against his elder brother, Kumar Bangarappa, who is contesting on a BJP ticket.
Laxmi Hebbalkar, Congress, Belagavi Rural
Laxmi Hebbalkar, 37, is the president of the president of Congress party’s women’s wing in Karnataka. She is contesting from the Marathi-dominated Belagavi (Rural) assembly constituency for the second time. She was defeated here in the 2013 assembly election and again in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.

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