Former Ministers face acid test in Mysore district

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Mysore, May 6 (UNI) Two former ministers -- G T Deve Gowda of the BJP and H Vishwanath belonging to the Congress -- face an acid test in Hunsur and K R Nagara segments in this district, which go to the polls in the first phase on May ten.

Mr Gowda, the former Cooperation Minister in the Kumaraswamy Cabinet, was long known as a strong community based leader of the JD(S) in the district and was the force behind the party's success in the 2004 elections.

But now he is fighting the elections representing the saffron party after resigning from the Deve Gowda-led party, protesting against its 'betrayal' of the BJP by not handing over the Chief Minister's post to the BJP.

For Mr Vishwanath, an old guard of the Congress, this would be his last fight at the hustings. In an emotional outburst, he had told the voters that this would be his last elections. Despite losing the elections in 2004, he had remained in the limelight throughout and had successfully netted the party ticket.

Mr Gowda is facing a triangular contest with H P Manjunath of the Congress and S Chikkamadu of the JD(S).

The voters of Hunsur had returned former Chief Minister D Devaraj Urs to the Assembly for six successive terms from 1952 to 1978. They were known to shift political loyalties with the Congress, BJP and parties belonging to the Janata Parivar tasting success in this segment, known as the tobacco barn of Karnataka due to large scale cultivation of flue-cured variety tobacco which enjoyed high demand in the international market.

The constituency with 1.86 lakh voters, which had largely remained untouched in the delimitation exercise, however, had not elected a Congress candidate since 1991.

The voters were from the Vokkaliga community in large numbers, followed by the Naiks, Kurabas, Dalits and Muslim voters.

In K R Nagara, known as the rice bowl of the district, Mr Vishwanath was also locked in a triangular contest with S R Mahesh of the JD(S) and BJP's K C Puttasidashetty.

Voters in this segment expect a close contest. It is home to people, mainly from the Vaokkaligas, Kurubas, Dalits, Naiks and Lingayats.

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