In Siddaramaiah's Constituency, Deve Gowda Followers Claim BJP Support

Karnataka assembly elections:In Chamundeshwari, a seat Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is contesting, BJP has fielded a first-timer

Karnataka elections: If no party gets a majority, JD(S) could play the king-maker

Chamundeshwari/Mysuru: Last month, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said that JD(S) was "Team-B" of the BJP, an allegation both the parties have denied and are still denying.

But in Chamundeshwari, nearly three hours from Bengaluru, JD(S) workers told NDTV that the BJP is openly supporting them. "Of course, a lot of BJP leaders are openly supporting, it is not an indirect alliance," said Dr Chandra Beerihundi, a JD(S) member.

JD(S) workers say in this constituency, it is a two-way fight between Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and sitting JD(S) lawmaker GT Deve Gowda, a local heavyweight.

Chamundeshwari is one of the two seats Siddaramaiah is contesting as it has a high percentage of Kurubas, the OBC caste to which the Chief Minister belongs. But it also has a high number of Vokkaligas, the core base of the JD(S).

GT Deve Gowda accepts that he does not see the BJP as a major competitor. "In the last election, the BJP got only 8,000 votes. This time a lot of BJP's permanent supporters are supporting me. The effective candidate against Siddaramaiah is only GT Deve Gowda," the JD(S) candidate told NDTV.

JD(S) workers say the BJP chose a lightweight local leader to prevent any split of opposition votes in order to defeat Siddaramaiah.

BJP candidate Gopal Rao who is contesting his first assembly election and his party workers echo what the top leadership has been saying. "We don't want to merge with any party, we are strong enough. If they want they can come, even then we will not allow them to join us. We have our own strength."

BJP workers say their aim is to defeat the Congress. "We want to abolish the Congress from Karnataka and we are capable to fight against Congress," said, Shashikant, a local party worker, denying any alliance with the JD(S).

Meanwhile, the JD(S) is conducting joint rallies with Mayawati's BSP, an arch rival of the BJP. According to the pre-poll alliance, the JD(S) is contesting 204 of the 224 assembly seats, leaving the rest to the BSP.
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