Shimoga: In the Karnataka Yatra, CNN-IBN now stops at Shimoga. Former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa's home turf was also a Bharatiya Janata Party bastion in 2008. Will his rebellion destroy the BJP here?
As one drives into Shimoga of 2013, they see an old traditional town being turned into a new city with wide roads and a boom of new buildings. Since the BJP's 2008 victory, money has poured into Shimoga district.
At a hotel, CNN-IBN met a group of Shimoga old timers like Gopinath. He and his friends were discussing the political question that's dominating the town as to who should get the credit for the development - Yeddyurappa or the BJP? Sadly they say even serious corruption allegations don't seem to have made an impact.
Since Yeddyurappa walked out of the party, the BJP's dominant face in Shimoga is Deputy Chief Minister KS Easwarappa, a one time confidante of Yeddyurappa, but now an arch rival.
It's from this BJP office that Yeddyurappa and his rival Easwarappa built the BJP in Shimoga. They turned a socialist heartland into a saffron bastion. But now the battle is bitter as Yedyurappa is all out to defeat Easwarappa and the BJP.
Yeddyurappa himself is contesting from the neighbourhood Shikaripura seat. But Shimoga is now being seen as an ultimate prestige battle between him and Easwarappa and Yeddyurappa's candidate in the battle here is Rudra Gowda.