Caste factor will not play role in Chikkaballapur constituency: Veerappa Moily

DODDABALLAPUR (Karnataka), Apr 15:
Former Union minister M Veerappa Moily said Monday caste factor will not play a role in the Vokkaliga-dominated parliamentary constituency of Chikkaballapur, from where he is seeking re-election, as it has been a Congress bastion since its formation in 1977 and lost only once.
“This constituency is a Congress bastion. We have lost only once since its formation in 1977. We had lost to R L Jalappa in 1996 Lok Sabha elections. He had fought on Janata Dal ticket, then. Hence, caste factor will not play any role here,” he said in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of his third round of electoral campaign in Doddaballapur city.
Chikkaballapur, nearly 60 km from the state capital Bengaluru, is dominated by Vokkaligas, with about 4 lakh votes.
The hat-trick win of a Brahmin candidate V Krishna Rao on Congress ticket between 1984 to 1991 is a good indicator that caste politics does not play a role in this Vokkaliga-dominated parliamentary constituency, Moily, aiming for a third term from the seat, said.
The BJP, however, feels a large chunk of the Vokkaliga “votebank” will shift to the party because of the disenchantment over the coalition pact between the Congress and the JD(S).
BJP’s Karnataka in-charge Muralidhar Rao said a substantial number of Vokkaliga voters of JD(S) will shift to BJP in Old Mysuru region including Chikkaballapur constituency.
Moily, 79, said that this constituency is “secular” and does not tolerate communal forces.
Moreover, as a chief minister, he said he has done a lot of work which has benefited the people of the state, irrespective of their castes, which, he added, will fetch him votes.
“I have treated everybody equal. I introduced common entrance test, due to which good number of medical seats were given to people irrespective of their castes. I took water and irrigation projects in this region. All these good work which I did, I believe people remember,” he said.
In the last assembly election in 2018, Congress won five and JD(S) won two seats, out of eight belonging to this parliamentary constituency, which is an advantage for his chances of winning the seat, Moily said.
“Since both JD(S) and Congress are campaigning together, he hopes transfer of JD(S) votes to the Congress… I am also expecting a lead in Yelahanka assembly constituency,” he said.
Also, despite a Modi-wave in last Lok Sabha elections, he won from Chikkaballapur, defeating then BJP candidate B N Bache Gowda by just over 9,000 votes, Moily said. (PTI)