With the announcement of byelections to two Legislative Assembly constituencies in the State, candidates have started hopping from one mutt to another seeking blessings of seers belonging to various castes/communities.
In Sira constituency, besides seers of Sri Siddaganga Mutt, those of nearly a dozen mutts in Tumakuru district and the neighbouring Chitradurga district are expected to play a key role.
Political analysts say that each mutt owing allegiance to a particular community — Vokkaliga, Lingayat, Kuruba, Madiga — sometimes openly, but mostly wielding the influence behind the scenes, would help in garnering votes. In fact, some political leaders too have been openly identified with a particular mutt.
All the three major political parties have fielded candidates belonging to the Vokkaliga community in the constituency — T.B. Jayachandra (Congress), Rajesh Gowda (BJP), and Ammajamma (JD-S) — and they are vying for support of seers to ensure victory in election scheduled for November 3.
Nanjavadoota Swamy of Pattanayakanahalli in Sira, Hanumanthanatha Swamy of Yelerampura, Koratagere, and Shantaveera Swamy of Hosadurga, all belonging to the Vokkaliga community, are expected to play an important role swaying voters. There are an estimated 58,000 voters belonging to the Vokkaliga community and the three candidates would fiercely compete to get the community support, said sources in the Congress.
To influence voters
Two seers belonging to the Madiga community — Madara Chennaiah Swamy, Chitradurga, and Markandeya Swamy, Hiriyur, — are expected to influence voters belonging to the Scheduled Caste (Left). The community has an estimated 31,000 voters. There are about 7,500 voters belonging to the SC (Right).
Candidates would also seek blessings of seers belonging to Bhovi, Kuruba, and Golla communities too. Bhovi community seer Immadi Siddarameshwara Swamy of Chitradurga would wield influence over about 4,500 members of the community. Eshwaranandapuri Swamy of Hosadurga, representing the Kuruba community, is expected to influence about 17,000 voters of the community. The Golla community voters would be seeking directions from their seer Yadavannada Swamy of Chitradurga. The community has an estimated 20,000 votes. Members of the Sathya Sai Seva Organisation, which runs a residential school in Sira, too are expected to plays a role in the elections.
Unlike many other constituencies, the dominant Lingayat community has fewer number voters — an estimated 4,000 — in this constituency, sources said.