Hassan: Having had the last laugh in the Legislative Council election against the rival Janata Dal Secular (JDS), can district incharge and Minister for Animal Husbandry A. Manju outsmart former Prime Minister and national president of JDS H.D. Deve Gowda again in the forthcoming Taluk and Zilla Panchayat elections in Hassan?
In a very short time, after taking charge as district incharge minister of Hassan on the eve of Kannada Rajyotsava day on November 1, A. Manju came out with flying colours in the Legislative Council election held in December 2015 in Hassan when Congress nominee Gopalaswamy defeated his nearest rival Patel Shivram of JD(S).
The JD(S) leaders were caught unawares over the reported secret pact between Congress and BJP and lost the prestigious seat, said a JD(S) party functionary.
Before Mr Manju became a Congressman, he was with the BJP and was elected to the Legislative Assembly once from Arkalgudu seat in 1999. Using his links with the BJP, Manju is said to have garnered support from that party and secured a good chunk of preferential votes for the Congress nominee in the Legislative Council succeeding in dethroning the JD(S) candidate.
After the success of the Congress nominee, while thanking voters, Mr Manju had said, “I also thank my supporters in the other party(read BJP).”
It is also said that Mr Manju, when he contested against Mr Deve Gowda in the Hassan Lok Sabha poll in 2014, sought the support of BJP leaders particularly party MLC B.B. Shivappa who is said to have a considerable following in Sakleshpur assembly seat of Hassan.
The efforts of Mr Manju are said to have paid dividends in the election and he was successful in bringing down the victory margin of Mr Deve Gowda from about 2.91 lakh votes in 2009 to just over a lakh votes in 2014.
Though, Mr Manju could not be contacted on the chances of Congress nominees in Taluk and Zilla Panchayat elections, Mr Shivaram is optimistic that the Congress would get 21 seats, the magic number. required to capture power in the Hassan Zilla Panchayat which has 40-seats....