Varuna hogs limelight with Siddharamaiah’s re-entry
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Varuna hogs limelight with Siddharamaiah’s re-entry

April 6, 2023

By S.B. Devaraj

Varuna Constituency is expected to be one of the most closely watched Constituencies this election season, with the return of Opposition Leader and former Chief Minister Siddharamaiah to his home turf.

The Congress party has announced Siddharamaiah’s candidature from this Constituency, which includes his native place Siddaramanahundi.

This Constituency has the distinction of giving a Chief Minister to the State — Siddharamaiah was elected from here for the second consecutive time in 2013, and his party went on to form the Government with an absolute majority.

The Varuna Constituency was created in 2008 following the recommendations of the Delimitation Commission headed by Justice Kuldip Singh. It covers parts of Mysuru, Nanjangud, and T. Narasipur taluks.

In the previous election in 2018, there were speculations that B.Y. Vijayendra, the son of former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, would contest from this Constituency. Vijayendra had even rented a house in Varuna and conducted a 22-day poll campaign.

However, at the last minute, the BJP High Command decided to field a lesser-known candidate, Thotadappa Basavaraju,

from the Constituency. The reasons behind this decision are only known best to the BJP High Command.

Siddharamaiah contested as the first Congress candidate in the 2008 Assembly polls, soon after his famous victory in the high-stakes Chamundeshwari by-polls held in 2006. He had quit the JD(S) at the time, unhappy with the party’s leadership.

In the 2008 election, Siddharamaiah defeated retired top Police officer L. Revanasiddhaiah of the BJP. He went on to win a high-voltage contest in the subsequent election in 2013, defeating Ka.Pu. Siddalingaswamy, a close associate of former CM B.S. Yediyurappa.

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After two terms, Siddharamaiah decided to contest from Chamundeshwari, a Constituency he had represented several times since 1983, and from Badami in Bagalkot district as his second seat in the 2018 polls. He left the Varuna Assembly segment for his son, Dr. Yathindra.

Despite losing to JD(S) candidate G.T. Devegowda in Chamundeshwari, Siddharamaiah managed to win in Badami and became the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly after the collapse of the JD(S)-Congress Coalition Government in 2019.

Siddharamaiah is now once again entering the electoral battlefield from Varuna, which is currently represented by his son, Dr. Yathindra. It remains to be seen if the Kuruba leader’s luck will hold, as he has often hinted at becoming the CM again if the Congress is voted to power. Siddharamaiah has repeatedly stated that this will be his last election.

Siddharamaiah is also eyeing Kolar as his second Assembly segment this time, while leaving Badami, which he currently represents. He has previously represented Chamundeshwari, Varuna and Badami and hopes to secure his third win from Varuna and a victory in Kolar, provided the Congress High Command allows him to contest there.

The Congress has announced Siddharamaiah’s candidature from Varuna in the first list of its 124 candidates, while the JD(S) has named Abhishek Manegar, who had also contested in the previous election.

The BJP is yet to announce its candidate for the seat, with several aspirants vying for the ticket, including Ka.Pu. Siddalingaswamy, Mangala Somashekar, Thotadappa Basavaraju, Sharath Puttabuddhi, Devanur Pratap and Zoo Authority of Karnataka’s former Chairman L.R. Mahadevaswamy.

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VOTER DATA

With an electoral strength of 2,31,730 voters, including 1,15,811 males, 1,15,907 females, and 12 other category voters, the Constituency saw an increase of 10,000 voters compared to the previous election. It has 261 polling booths, and in the last Assembly election, the Constituency recorded a voter turnout of 78.92 percent. Of the total 2,21,050 voters, 1,74,457 had exercised their franchise.

CASTE MATRIX

Varuna Constituency has a significant population of Veerashaiva-Lingayat, Kuruba, Backward Classes, Minorities and Dalit communities. It covers parts of Kavalande hobli, which was under Santemarahalli Constituency until 2008, Varuna hobli, Biligere and Chikkayyanachatra hoblies of Nanjangud taluk and Kasaba hobli of Mysuru taluk.

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