With the Karnataka Assembly Elections underway, Lingayat-dominated Varuna in Mysuru is one such constituency that can potentially impact the overall outcome of the elections.

Varuna comes under the Mysore district of Karnataka and is part of the Chamarajanagar Lok Sabha seat. The new assembly constituency came into existence after the delimitation of Assembly seats in 2008.

A traditional stronghold of the Congress party, Varuna will see former BJP legislator from T Narasipur, Dr Bharathi Shankar, who is now a Janata Dal (Secular) candidate, contest against Congress leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah from the Congress party and Minister for Housing V Somanna from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Siddaramaiah has represented Varuna twice in the Assembly in 2008 and 2013 before his son Yathindra won the seat in 2018.

While Somanna is an MLA representing Govindaraja Nagar in Bengaluru and for him, Varuna is a new ground to explore.

Dr Shankar, who belongs to the SC community, had once represented the T. Narsipura Assembly seat in Mysuru as a BJP nominee in 1999. The Varuna segment has around 45,000 votes belonging to the community.

Somanna comes from the politically dominant Lingayat community, and Siddaramaiah hails from the Kuruba community.

Somanna has promised to develop Varuna constituency on the lines of Govindaraj Nagar in Bengaluru, while Siddaramaiah’s focus is on the Congress promises of providing 10 kg rice for free, 200 units free power, and unemployment doles to the youth besides Rs 2,000 for women heading the household.

Of the total electorate of 2,34,533 in the constituency, around 60,000 voters are Lingayats, the community that Somanna belongs to.

The winning party must have 113 seats to form the Government in Karnataka out of 224 seats.

Incidentally, the politically important state has not given any party a successive mandate. In the last 40 years, only the Ramakrishna Hegde-led Janata Party managed to return to power in 1985.

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