Bidar: The Congress may owe its spectacular victory in the Bidar North Assembly by- poll largely to its well organised campaign spearheaded by former CM N. Dharam Singh and the rapport its candidate Rahim Khan enjoys with people here, but there was one stand-out contribution.
Bhalki MLA Eshwar Khandre was so enthusiastic in campaigning for his “good friend” Rahim Khan that he seemed almost like a defacto candidate himself, say observers. It is believed his bitter political rivalry with the BJP candidate and his cousin Prakash Khandre drove him to hit the streets with more than the usual gusto on behalf of the Congress. Having defeated the BJP leader twice in Bhalki, the MLA did not want to see him win in Bidar either and so worked hard to vanquish him, say local Congressmen.
Being general secretary of the All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha, he was given the task of wooing the dominant Lingayat community and he went all out to accomplish his mission, they note. “Mr Khandre not only succeeded in getting the support of the Lingayats, but also played a pivotal role in winning over other communities in areas that were part of Bhalki constituency in the past,” say party insiders,
Many here now believe the MLA could be rewarded with a Cabinet berth should the CM decide to overhaul it. While giving away nothing on the rumour, Mr Dharam Singh admitted to reporters here that demand was growing for the district to receive representation in the Cabinet now that the Congress had won the Bidar North bypoll by a huge margin and the local body election to the Legislative Council from it.
Mr Khandre’s chances are thought to be bright as people are said to be unhappy with district in-charge minister, Umashree who is reportedly showing little interest in developing Bidar. CM Siddaramaiah too had promised to consider giving Bidar representation in the Cabinet after the by-poll while campaigning in the constituency....