Bengaluru: The Congress has to scout for a new Lingayat leader in Chamarajnanagar district to fill in for Co-Operation and Sugar Minister H.S. Mahadev Prasad who died last week.
The district had the distinction of producing bigwigs like former Speaker, Ms K.S. Nagaratnamma, former Union minister, Mr M.S. Gurupadaswamy, former Rajya Sabha member and minister, M Rajashekar Murthy and another former minister, M Mahadev (Benki Mahadev). Though, they belonged to different political parties, they were considered faces of the lingayat community which holds the key in all elections.
Mahadev Prasad had identified himself as a prominent lingayat leader of the district by winning for a record five times from Gundlupet and working as minister on three occasions. After Ms Nagaratnamma's death, Mr Prasad had been representing the constituency for over twenty years. He commanded respect because 0f his clean image.
A close aide of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Mr Prasad too resigned from the Janata Dal and joined the Congress. Despite changing parties, he managed to win the elections by a large margin. With his untimely death, the responsibility is now on the CM to find another Lingayat leader to match his charisma.
As of now, there is no prominent leader of the community on whom the party can rely to woo voters in the Assembly polls. Those who are in the party are not popular enough to sway voters. This had become a matter of worry for Mr Siddaramaiah since he had a big responsibility of sending maximum number of legislators from Mysuru and Chamarajanagar to the Assembly.
Sources close to the CM told Deccan Chronicle that it would not be surprising if BJP President B S Yeddyurappa makes inroads in the district to woo community voters....