Bengaluru: Hunsur, a town, known for its saw mills and quality teakwood, had reposed its faith last in former minister and veteran leader, A H Vishwanath , who won from it as a Janata Dal (Secular) candidate in the 2018 assembly polls.
A little over a year later, he, however, quit to join 16 other Congress and JD(S) MLAs, who resigned to bring down the coalition government in July. Now, like these former legislators, he is hoping to be re-elected from his former constituency, but on a BJP ticket.
This time he is taking on two- time Congress MLA, H P Manjunath, who won from Hunsur in 2008 and 2013, but lost to him the last election.
Stung by Mr Vishwanath's resignation and personal attacks on him, former Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah, is reportedly determined to see him lose the December 5 bypoll.
Although both Mr Vishwanath and Mr Siddaramaiah are from the Kuruba community, they have no love for each other with the former quitting the Congress in a huff before the 2018 assembly elections to join the JD(S), complaining of being sidelined by his government.
Mr. Vishwanath's 2018 victory as a JD(S) candidate from Hunsur was attributed to his individual charisma and his new party, which got him the Vokkaliga votes. Also, the local Congress leaders reportedly worked against their candidate, Manjunath, a known Siddaramaiah loyalist, that election. But now that Mr Vishwanath has been fielded by the BJP, he is relying on the support of senior BJP leaders to win the bypoll and become minister as promised. Chief Minister, B S Yediyurappa has already completed one round of campaigning for him in the constituency. His win could be a blow for Mr Siddaramaiah, who could suffer a loss of face if his man is not elected from Hunsur. In fact, his rivals in the party are reportedly waiting for Mr Manjunath's defeat to make a case against him with the Congress high command.
Meanwhile, the JD(S), like the Congress, wants to teach Mr Vishwanath a lesson for silently engineering a coup against his own party. But as of now, it appears to be a direct fight between Mr Vishwanath and Mr Manjunath with the BJP leader wooing the people with a promise to make their taluk the district headquarters if elected....