Bengaluru: The ruling BJP seems to be putting in an extra effort in KR Pete assembly constituency following reports that the going will not be easy for disqualified MLA K.R. Narayana Gowda.
Without giving up hope, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has asked his deputy C.S. Ashwathnarayana to stay put in the constituency till the last date of the public campaign to do everything possible to reverse the tide. Party leaders admit that Mandya district is not their bastion as they failed to win even one of the eight assembly constituencies which come under Mandya Lok Sabha constituency in 2018 with Vokkaliga leaders either supporting the Congress or JD(S) in all previous elections. The voters of the district still have reservations about the BJP which they consider as a party of the upper castes. Despite fielding Vokkaliga candidates and ensuring aggressive campaigns by community leaders, the BJP has not been able to make inroads into Mandya.
It is therefore an acid test for the CM who is reportedly pressurising Dr Ashwathnarayana and his son B.Y. Vijayendra to work day and night to win the seat even by a low margin. Going by the trends in the constituency, it's more a battle between Yediyurappa, opposition leader in the state Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah and former CM H.D. Kumaraswamy. While Narayana Gowda is dependent on the popularity of Yediyurappa who belongs to the same taluk, K.B. Chandrashekar, the Congress candidate, is banking on the charisma of Siddaramaiah. Devaraj of the JD(S) is wishing for a miracle after the people of Mandya defeated Nikhil Kumaraswamy, son of Kumaraswamy in the Lok Sabha polls and that too when his father was in power.
The JD(S) leaders are however not too enthusiastic about the bypoll as they reportedly wanted party supremo Deve Gowda to field either Nikhil Kumaraswamy or one of his daughters-in-law in KR Pete which was rejected by the former PM.
As far as the Congress camp is concerned, former legislators who were defeated in the assembly polls last year, are in no mood to work for Chandrashekar when they themselves were rejected by voters. In the current situation in KR Pete, money power is likely to play a major role in determining the prospects of the candidates which the BJP has in ample measure.