Hassan: Old rivals, Minister A Manju of the Congress and former MLA , AT Ramaswamy of the JD(S) are face to face once again for their seventh electoral battle from Arkalgudu constituency in Hassan these polls.
While both men have beaten each other thrice in past elections, they have changed parties since their first face- off in 1989. Mr Ramaswamy won against Mr Manju, then an independent, in 1989 and again in 1994. when the latter was with the BJP. But Mr Manju came back strongly and won Arkalgudu in 1999 on a BJP ticket.
In 2004, both Mr Ramaswamy and Mr Manju had changed their loyalties, joining the JD(S) and Congress respectively. This time it was victory for Mr Ramaswamy but then the latter bounced back to win the 2008 and 2013 polls against him from the constituency.
The delimitation of constituencies appears to have been a blessing for Manju as the Halli Mysuru hobli of Holenarispur with its large Lingayat and Kuruba population with strong loyalty to the Congress , became a part of Arkalgudu, giving him the edge he needed to win.
Also Mr Yoga Ramesh, who is contesting as a BJP candidate these polls, had joined the fray as an independent in 2013, taking away about 32,000 of the JD(S)'s votes, once again giving Mr Manju an advantage.Ask him about his back to back successes from the constituency and the Minister attributes it to a good rapport with voters and his " pro-people" programmes....