Karnataka Poll Watch 7 : Mysore, Chamarajnagar, Bangalore Rural

Political Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network

April 16, 2014

Mysore:   High stakes for Siddaramaiah at home turf

Assembly constituencies: 8
Total electorate: 17,21,197
Candidates in the fray: 15
Sitting MP: A Vishwanath  (INC) 

For Chief Minister Siddaramiah winning   Mysore constituency, a known Congress citadel, is a matter of great consequence as it is his home turf.   2014 election has seen a record number of journalists    entering into political field and BJP has fielded self-styled rightist journalist, Pratap Simha, known for his hardcore Hindutva views, against Congress veteran .    JD(S) candidate is Chandrashekarayya, a retired judge,   who belongs to the Vokkaliga community.  

Though the constituency is a mixture of   Vokkaliga, Kuruba, Dalit, Lingayat and minorities, Vokkaligas and Dalits,  Vokkaliga votes will decide the fate of the candidates.  With an eye on the votes of Vokkaliga community BJP also has fielded a Vokkaliga, who is an outsider in Mysore.

Vishwanath (Cong), Pratap Simha (BJP), Chandrashekarayya (JDS)

The electoral fighting scene in Mysore would have been a different one if wife of late Srikantadatha Odeyar Pramoda Devi had entered the fray.  Though all political parties tried to woo her, she refused to budge.   Even the candidature of Jaffer Sharief from Congress or D V Sadananda Gowda or Shobha Karandlaje (both Vokkaligas) would have added more spice to the political scenario.  
Mysore is a traditional stronghold of Congress this fortress breached only twice by the BJP in 1998 and 2004.  Sitting MP A Vishwanath belongs to Kuruba community, the same community to which Siddaramaiah belongs to.   As a sitting MP he is facing the anti-incumbency factor but consolidation of caste factor would come to his advantage.    His opponents from BJP and JD(S) both belong to the Vokkaliga community and Vishwanth hopes the division of Vokkaliga votes would work in his favour.  Congress stronghold in Mysore was demonstrated when the party won 5 of the eight assembly seats here leaving only two seats to BJP and one to JD(S).

38 year old Pratap Simha, who is making his political debut, succeeded in getting the seat at the instance of RSS though he is not even primary member of the BJP.  This move has angered local BJP leaders especially C H Vijayshankar,  who fought on BJP ticket against  Vishwanath in 2009.   Pratap’s only achievement until his elevation as a MP candidate was the weekly column he wrote for the daily he was working for.  He made use of his position to spew venom against minorities and even hobnobbed with politicians by misusing his position. His name is mired in controversy after it was known that he had procured a housing site   for his wife (who had  an accident)  by showing her as his  disabled doctor ‘sister’  during the  BJP rule in the state.  This disabled sister happened to be the daughter of a rich coffee planter who was actually his wife.  But in the meantime he had the site worth Rs. 50 lakh at a throwaway price sanctioned to his  disabled doctor wife.    

Though the BJP is projecting itself as a united force, discontent is brewing among local leaders of the party against ‘outsider’ candidate Pratap Simha.  It is ironic to see this Hidutva right wing journalist seeking votes on the basis of his caste to blunt the outsider tag.  It remains to be seen whether his Hidutva plank is going to sail him through.

JD(S) candidate may not be able to cause any upheaval and the fight will be between the BJP and Congress. With the might of the Congress bigwigs and recharged Congress workers working overtime Congress might once again reinforce its hold over Mysore. 

Chamarajnagar:  a repeat of 2009 fight among 3 major contenders 

Assembly constituencies: 8 
Total electorate: 15,55,000
Candidates in the fray: 14
Sitting MP: R Dhruvanarayan (INC)

In 2009  the sitting MP R Dhruvanaragan of the Congress scraped through by a slender margin of over 4,000 votes over BJP rival A R Krishnamurthy from the SC reserved constituency.  This time too,   Charamarjanagar is witnessing the same candidates from Congress, BJP and JD(S) who were in the fray in 2009.    The Congress had won 7 of the 8 assembly segments in 2013.   JD(S) bagged one seat and BJP was totally routed in terms of seats.  JD (S) candidate M Shivanna Kote, a former minister and two-time MLA is also in the field.

 R Dhruvanaragan (Cong), A R Krishnamurthy (BJP), M Shivanna Kote (JDS)

For sitting MP Dhruvanarayan the 5th best MP ranking given by Bangalore Political Action Committee based on a survey, has come as an endorsement of his performance as an incumbent MP.
This constituency too has high stakes for the Congress as   Siddaramaiah and his three cabinet colleagues hail from this district.  While Siddaramaiah represents Varuna assembly segment, V Sreenivas Prasad who is the Revenue Minister,  is a legislator from Nanjangud.  PWD Minister Dr H C Mahadevappa represents T Narasipur constituency of the district and Co-operation minister H S Mahadeva Prasad is MLA from Gundlupet assembly constituency.  With such high stakes, it is certainly a matter of prestige for the Congress to retain this constituency.  The affable and  easily accessible personality of sitting MP  Dhruvanarayana is big plus point for the party in this effort.  He has fully utilized the funds allotted under the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme to provide employment.

BJP candidate A R Krishnamurthy, son of seasoned politician late B Rachaiah, who had represented this constituency as MP, is banking on the traditional support of Lingayats who account for nearly 3.8 lakh of the total votes.  With caste and money being important factors both the BJP and Congress have fielded candidates from the right-hand-section of the Scheduled castes, with an eye on the 2.5 lakh votes of the sub-sect.  JD(S) on the other, fielded candidate belonging to the left hand sub-sect which has about 1.5 lakh votes. 

BJP candidate Krishnamurthy is also expecting the sympathy factor to work for him having lost three consecutive elections (twice to the assembly and in the parliamentary elections in 2009).  His work as chairman of Dr B R Ambedkar Development Corporation during the BJP rule in the state has helped him connect with the voters of the constituency. 

JD(S) candidate Shivanna might get the votes of the Vokkaliga community due to the influence of Deve Gowda, in addition to the votes of his own sect.  Shivanna’s prospects also look brighter as the party has got the support of Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) which enjoys the support of the Muslims.  Another JD(S) stalwart from the region K Shivaram also has considerable backing in the region, especially that of Chalavadi Mahasabha. 

With the polarization of votes among the three major players the Congress has directed all  its resources to ensure victory of its candidate. 

Bangalore Rural:  Battle of prestige for HDK and DKS

Assembly constituencies: 8
Total electorate:  21,76, 885
Candidates in the fray: 15
Sitting MP:  D K Suresh (INC) 

For JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy for whom Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha constituency is his political ‘janmabhoomi’ it is a matter of prestige to win this constituency to maintain the existence of JD(S) in the state.  Though there is a triangular fight here the constituency is in for a prestige battle between H D Kumaraswamy and Congress leader and Energy Minister D K Shivakumar.  The candidates in the fray are D K Suresh of Congress (brother of D K Shivakumar), P Muniraju of BJP and JD(S) candidate millionaire R Prabhakar Reddy, a realtor. 

D K Suresh (Cong), P Muniraju (BJP), R Prabhakar Reddy (JDS)

Traditionally a Congress bastion having won 10 times out of the 14 elections the JD(S) showed its might by winning in 1996 and BJP in 1998.  It was in Bangalore Rural JD(S) veteran H D Devegowda was humbled by a political novice Tejaswini Gowda in 2004 causing a big political upheaval in the state.   Though H D Kumaraswamy won the elections in 2009 he deserted it in 2013 to contest in the assembly seat from Ramnagara.  This resulted in bypoll in Bangalore North Lok Sabha constituency which D K Suresh of the Congress won by defeating Anitha Kumaraswamy, wife of H D Kumaraswamy.

Naturally there is strong resentment against this Kumaraswamy among party workers in Bangalore North who is nicknamed as ‘migratory bird’ as he has once again deserted Ramnagar to contest from Chikkballapur against Congress stalwart Veerappa Moily.    Having sensed this resentment against JD (S) candidate the Congress is raising the pitch of its campaign to ensure victory for its candidate and D K Shivakumar has been evincing person interest in the Congress campaign.  Prabhakar Reddy who had contested from Bangalroe South in 2009 is relatively unknown in Bangalore Rural and has not been actively campaigning.     In 2013 when the mood was anti-BJP Congress had won in four segments and JD S) three leaving one segment to BJP.  But the situation has undergone drastic change ever since and BJP has also emerged as a big threat to the two major rivals. 

Bangalore Rural is spread across three districts.  While JD(S) and Congress  has strong presence in Ramnagar, Bangalore Urban and Tumkur, Congress has good hold in Kanakapura and Channapattna.   The coming home of another jumping jack C P Yogeshwar who represented Channapatna assembly as a SP candidate has come as a shot in the arm for the Congress.    On its part, the BJP has a strong presence in some of the urban constituencies like Bangalore South, Anekal and Rajarajeshwarinagar which constitute about 13 lakh votes.  

If caste factor is taken into consideration, Bangalore rural has a sizeable number of Vokkaliga and SC and minority votes.  For BJP candidate Muniraju, who at 35, represents the youth face of the party, will be the choice of a majority of the 2.5 lakh young voters.   The Modi factor will also be a plus point for Muniraju as the youth are increasingly in favor of Modi as Prime Minister.

In Bangalore Rural  more than party politics it is  going to be the clash of titans - H D K and D K S, a prestigious battle to both.  It remains to be seen if BJP will be the beneficiary here due to the Congress JD(S) rivalry.


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Comment on this article

  • Ronald D, Udupi

    Wed, Apr 16 2014

    Someone should write on his betthale land grab and hypocrisy!

    DisAgree [4] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse


    Wed, Apr 16 2014

    Congress will be the winner in all the three seats.

    DisAgree [7] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • Abhishek Padival Jain, Sullia/Bangalore

    Wed, Apr 16 2014

    Pratap Simha becomes Pratap Gowda to win his caste votes,
    Still, he says all Hindus are just one Caste.
    His disabled Wife becomes his sister to Gobble Govt Site,
    Later marries own sister who is rich coffee planter's daughter.
    Modi is confused between Sister and Wife.
    Bettale Simha is confused between Wife and Sister.

    DisAgree [14] Agree [34] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jayaprakash, Mangalore/Dubai

    Wed, Apr 16 2014

    The "Naked" momemt of 2014 election: Bethale Simha seeked vote based on his caste

    DisAgree [12] Agree [22] Reply Report Abuse

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