Bengaluru: Law and parliamentary affairs minister J.C. Madhuswamy, who has angered the Kuruba community over the naming of a circle after 16th century poet Kanakadasa in Huliyar, Tumakuru, has been replaced by Dy CM C.N. Ashwathnarayana as in- charge of K R Pete assembly constituency by the ruling BJP, which is unwilling to take any chances these bypolls.
The minister had accompanied disqualified MLA, Narayana Gowda, when he went to file his nomination papers from K R Pete on Monday. But soon afterwards became embroiled in a controversy, with the Kurubas accusing him of insulting their seer over the issue of naming the Huliyar circle after saint/poet, Kanakadasa. As the row threatened to escalate with Kuruba leaders calling for a bandh to demand his resignation, Chief Minister B S Yediyurapppa hurriedly apologised to the seer on behalf of the minister and replaced him with Dr Ashwathnarayana as in- charge of K R Pete constituency. The move is clearly intended to pacify the Kurubas, whose votes are vital for the victory of the BJP in the constituency, say observers.
Dr Ashwathnarayana, who is expected to draw the Vokkaliga votes for the party, has already proved his mettle during the BJP's latest Operation Lotus that saw it poach 17 Congress and JD(S) legislators and install its own government in the state in July with their help.
Losing no time, the DyCM began campaigning in the constituency on Thursday, holding rallies in a number of villages, accompanied by the CM's son and Shivamogga MP, B Y Vijayendra. The duo are reportedly hoping to persuade both the Vokkaligas and Lingayats of the constituency to back the saffron party in the bypoll.