Chikkamagaluru: A seasoned politician, former Minister, B L Shankar hasn’t had much success in entering the Assembly, losing both the elections he contested from Bengaluru in the past. But now he is again trying his luck, this time from his native district of Chikkamagaluru as a Congress nominee.
While he is up against three-time MLA, C T Ravi of the BJP, who has won from the constituency since 2004, Congress party sources say it is banking on Mr Shankar’s contributions as Chikkamagaluru MP to see him past the hustings. They point out that it was during his tenure that the foundation stone of the railway station was laid and water was supplied to Chikkamagaluru town from the Yagachi reservoir. Also, he had addressed the problems of the coffee planters at the time, they recall.
Going by caste calculations, the candidate who gets the support of the Kurubas and Muslims who account for 30,000 voters and 27,000 voters respectively, is bound to win. The constituency also has 14,000 Vokkaligas , 34,000 Lingayats and a sprinking of smaller communities which account for 70,000 votes.
A resident of Banakal in Mudigere taluk of Chikkamagaluru, Mr Shankar was defeated by the late Chief Minister, Ramakrishna Hegde in Basavanagudi in Bengaluru in 1989. In 2013 he lost to BJP’s Muniraju from Dasarahalli in Bengaluru.
But he represented Chikkamagaluru as MP in 1996 and entered the Legislative Council twice in 1985-89 and again in 1998-2004.
Speaking to the Deccan Chronicle on his chances, Mr Shankar said every election depended upon issues and circumstances. "The performance of the Siddaramaiah government and the many programmes launched by it could help me win Chikkamagaluru," he added....