Bengaluru: The announcement of Dr H.S. Ravindra as the Congress candidate for the South Graduates’ constituency for elections to the Legislative Council, seems to have created fissures in the Mysuru district Congress unit.
The party rank and file in the home district of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah are unhappy over Dr Ravindra's selection and feel this may work to the advantage of the Opposition.
The BJP has made up its mind to field Mr M.V. Ravishankar, former chairman of Mysuru Lac and Paints since sitting MLC Go Madhusudhan has decided against contesting the polls. The JD(S) is fielding its old horse and three time MLC, Mr K.T. Srikantegowda.
Recently, a group of local leaders met the CM to express their ire over Dr Ravindra's candidature and wanted the party to replace him with Mr Laxman, president of Association of Concerned and Informed Citizens of Mysuru. However, Mr Siddaramaiah lost his temper and reportedly shouted at them saying Dr Ravindra's candidature had been decided upon by the high command. This has angered local leaders who have decided to remain neutral during the election.
Sources told Deccan Chronicle that Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar influenced the high command to give the ticket to Dr Ravindra who hails from Mandya and comes from a family of politicians. Mr Laxman is said to be a follower of former MP, Mr H. Vishwanath whose ties with the CM are not at their best. Pressure is now mounting on Mr Laxman who lost the previous election from the same constituency, to contest as an Independent.
Of the 1.25 lakh voters, Mysuru and Chamarajanagar together have 75,000 votes followed by Hassan and Mandya with around 50,000 votes.
The JD(S) candidate, Mr Srikantegowda, is an old horse who is quite aware of the voter's mind. But the Congress, which has almost lost hope of winning Mysuru ZP, is sparing no effort to win the Council election which will be a face saver for the CM too.
As for the BJP, party leaders claim they have committed voters and are not bothered about the candidate choice.
The party has enrolled a good number of graduates much before the announcement of elections. There is a possibility of a division of Vokkaliga votes as all three candidates, Mr Srikantegowda, Mr Laxman and Dr Ravindra belong to the same community. The fight will be between BJP and Janata Dal (Secular) and Congress may be pushed to third place, said sources.