BJP opts for moderate Kageri over Hindutva firebrand Hegde for Uttara Kannada LS seat in K’taka

Bengaluru, March 25 – The BJP has chosen soft-spoken, moderate leader Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri instead of Hindutva firebrand and six-term MP, Anantkumar Hegde for the Uttara Kannada Lok Sabha seat in Karnataka.

Kageri, a senior BJP leader, served as a minister and Speaker in the Karnataka Assembly and this is the first time that he is facing a Lok Sabha election.

On the other hand, Hegde has represented the Uttara Kannada Lok Sabha seat in 1996, 1998, 2004, 2009, 2014 and 2019 general elections as a BJP candidate.

Though Hegde made all attempts to get the ticket, the BJP opted for Kageri and he will face former Congress MLA, Dr. Anjali Nimbalkar.

Hegde had gone on a whirlwind tour of the constituency and kicked up a storm by suggesting that the BJP would amend the Indian Constitution once it secured two-third majority in the Lok Sabha. The party had distanced itself from the statement and dubbed it as a personal remark by the leader.

Hegde also faced opposition from within the BJP as he remained unavailable for party workers and was suffering from a protracted illness.

On the other hand, Kageri is a non-controversial figure with a clean image and hence was preferred over him by the BJP.

Plus, Kageri was a six-time MLA till he lost the Assembly election in 2023 from the Sirsi seat against Congress candidate Bhimanna T Naik.

The Uttara Kannada Lok Sabha seat comprises Khanapur, Kittur, Haliyal, Karwar, Kumta, Bhatkal, Sirsi and Yellapur Assembly seats.

The Congress party had won five seats and the BJP emerged victorious in three seats in the 2023 Assembly polls.

Among the three MLAs, Sirsi BJP MLA, Shivaram Hebbar has distanced himself from party affairs and sources close to him say that he is all set to join the Congress party and he remained absent during the Rajya Sabha election.

A political heavyweight from the Congress party, RV Deshpande represents the Haliyal Assembly seat. The Congress has denied him a ministerial berth and he is miffed with the development.

The Congress is pinning its hopes on Dr. Anjali Nimbalkar, one of the most highly-educated female politicians. She is a doctor and an advocate. Her husband, Hemanth Nimbalkar is a senior IPS officer.

Dr. Anjali Nimbalkar represented Khanapur Assembly constituency in Belagavi District. She lost the seat to the BJP candidate Vithal Somanna Halgekar in 2023.

Hindutva poster boy Hegde had registered a landslide victory with a margin of 4.79 lakh votes in the Uttara Kannada seat in the 2019 general election.

The constituency is considered as the bastion of the BJP and the party is confident of registering a victory again with Kageri.

The Congress party is banking on guarantees and an educated woman candidate.


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