Nation Current Affairs 08 Aug 2018 Siddaramaiah’s ...

Siddaramaiah’s ‘no’ to fight Lok Sabha poll from Mysuru

Published Aug 8, 2018, 1:52 am IST
Updated Aug 8, 2018, 6:10 am IST

BENGALURU:  Thanks, but no, thanks! This was former chief minister Siddaramaiah’s response to Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s suggestion to the Kuruba strongman to contest next year’s Lok Sabha elections from Mysuru-Kodagu constituency. Sources close to Siddaramaiah told Deccan Chronicle that he declined to contest the general elections next year as he has announced his decision to retire from electoral politics and continue in the role of an advisor. 

The suggestion from Gandhi came during a one-on-one discussion with Siddaramaiah after last week’s meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) in New Delhi. He had made known his intentions to keep away from electoral politics immediately after Assembly elections in May. With a tough contest on hand between Congress and BJP in next year’s general elections, Gandhi was evidently keen that Siddaramaiah enter the fray in Mysuru-Kodagu parliamentary constituency. The former CM, however, has distanced himself from his home district, Mysuru, post his defeat in Chamundeshwari Assembly constituency, leaving scores of leaders and supporters in the lurch.  

In 2009, the Congress did not face any paucity of formidable candidates as former minister H Vishwanth had won the Lok Sabha polls, but in 2014, he lost to a rookie Pratap Simha (BJP) thanks to the pro-Modi wave across the country. Subsequently, Vishwanath quit the Congress following differences of opinion with Siddaramaiah. Since then, Congress leaders have been scouting for a suitable candidate for Mysuru-Kodagu Lok Sabha seat to defeat the BJP candidate. Meanwhile, C H Vijayshankar of BJP, who represented this constituency in 1998 and 2004, joined the Congress as he was upset with BJP leaders for asking him to contest against H.D. Deve Gowda from Hassan instead of Mysuru which he had represtend twice.

At the time of induction into Congress, Siddaramaiah had reportedly asked Vijayshankar to be ready to contest the LS polls from Mysuru-Kodagu and had extended all support. Party workers, however, feel that Vijayshankar lacks mass appeal and could face defeat at the hands of Simha. Sources in the Congress said the political canvas has changed dramatically post the Assembly polls as both top guns-Siddaramaiah and former minister H C Mahadevappa tasted defeat at the hands of Janata Dal (Secular) candidates. Even the BJP had made inroads in the district by winning from two rural constituencies-Nanjangud and Gundlupet-both held by Congress. Besides, the JD(S) gave a rude shock to Congress in many constituencies in Mysuru and Chamarajanagar districts.

Besides his loss at Chamundeshwari, he faces the threat from two former cabinet colleagues – Vishwanath and former minister V Srinivasaprasad. While  Vishwanath has made it as president of state unit of JD(S) unit, Prasad joined the BJP and successfully got his son-in-law to win from Nanjangud Assembly constituency. In case Congress decides to field Siddaramaiah,  Prasad would definitely campaign against his bete noire in both Mysuru and Kodagu districts.

Location: India, Karnataka


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