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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Mallikarjun Kharge’s backyard to hot up as political heavyweights clash in LS polls

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Kalaburagi, formerly known as Gulbarga, is gearing up for high-stakes Lok Sabha elections, with political heavyweights from both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress locking horns in this pivotal constituency. Celebrated for its rich cultural heritage and architectural marvels, Kalaburagi, or Togari Kanaja as it is locally known, has been in significant focus as the Central Election Commission rolls out the election schedule.

Scheduled to take place on May 7, the polling in this Scheduled Caste reserved constituency will see votes counted on June 4. Both BJP and Congress have thrown their hats into the ring, unveiling their respective candidates and ramping up their campaign efforts.

The BJP has fielded Dr. Umesh Jadhav as its candidate, banking on his previous victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections when he defeated senior Congress leader and AICC president Mallikarjuna Kharge. With his background as a physician and his developmental work in the constituency, Dr. Jadhav has been backed by the party for a second term, citing a positive public sentiment towards his tenure.

In a strategic move, Kharge has chosen to endorse his son-in-law, Radhakrishna Doddamani, for the Lok Sabha ticket, marking a new chapter in the region’s political landscape with a shift towards family politics. Doddamani, a prominent businessman with interests in educational institutions, brings a fresh perspective to the race.

Historically, Kalaburagi has been a battleground between the BJP and Congress. While the Congress dominated the constituency for nearly four decades post-independence, the BJP managed to secure victories intermittently. Notable leaders like Dharam Singh and Virendra Patil, former chief ministers of Karnataka, have previously represented the constituency in the Lok Sabha.

With an electorate of approximately 22.59 lakh voters for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Kalaburagi presents a diverse demographic landscape. The Lingayats constitute a majority, but the constituency also includes voters from various communities, such as Muslims, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Lambanis, Kabbaligas, and Kurubas.

The Lok Sabha constituency comprises eight assembly segments: Afzalpur, Jewargi, Chittapur, Kalaburagi South, Kalaburagi North, Kalaburagi Rural, Sedam, and Gurumitkal, all situated in the Yadgir district. Meanwhile, the Aland and Chincholi assembly constituencies fall under the Bidar Lok Sabha constituency.

The stage is set for a riveting electoral contest, with the spotlight firmly on Kalaburagi as it prepares to choose its representative for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

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