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Battle Chamundeshwari: A bumpy road ahead for Siddaramaiah

By Vicky Nanjappa
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    There are murmurs on the streets that the BJP and JD(S) may enter into a secret pact to defeat, Karnataka Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah in the Chamundeshwari constituency.

    Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah

    Political pundits say that Siddaramaiah may finally come out victorious in this battle, but he will have to slog it out. The Chief Minister has been spending a considerable amount of time in his constituency. On Friday, he addressed several gatherings and the tone of his campaign suggested that he is trying to shrug off the casteist tag that the opposition has attached to him. In a passionate plea made to the voters, he described himself as a humanist.

    Speaking to a cross-section of the people in the constituency one gets the impression that many still are with Siddaramaiah. He has won this constituency five times in the past. In 2008 he moved out of this constituency owing to delimitation and contest twice from Varuna.

    Today he is back to where he began and is sparing no effort to win over the voters. Rajaiah who sells snacks says that if he feels that the Congress is in with a chance, then his vote would go to Siddaramaiah. It is good to have a chief minister from your constituency, he also says.

    No easy pickings:

    Siddaramaiah threw in the emotional spin at the start of a campaign by announcing that this would be his last outing. Rewind 2013, he had said the same.

    Also Read | 'A humanist, not a casteist', says Siddaramaiah on Chamundeshwari campaign trail

    Siddaramaiah's is pitted against G T Deve Gowda of the JD(S). He is no walkover and holds considerable sway over the Nayaka, Vokkaliga and Dalit communities. Siddaramaiah will be defeated, says the other Gowda in the JD(S).

    Throwing his weight behind G T Deve Gowda is H D Deve Gowda himself. The former PM has toured the constituency and has vowed to defeat Siddaramaiah who was once part of his party.

    Also Read | Karnataka Elections 2018: Congress levels fresh corruption charges against Yeddyurappa

    The JD(S) is leaving no stone unturned and has been visiting the Veerashaiva mutts, Dalit colonies and Nayakas. The campaign in the urban pockets too is hectic. The JD(S) boasts of development of the constituency ever since Siddaramaiah vacated it in 2008.

    Not entirely safe:

    Being a CM is no insurance for a victory, electoral history has shown. The Chamundeshwari constituency has changed a lot. The constituency wears an urbanised feel and the standard of living of the people has improved over the years.

    The JD(S) claims credit for the same and this is very much part of its campaign slogan. To make it harder for Siddaramaiah, both Deve Gowda and his son Kumaraswamy have promised to stop the Congress march. They say that they will take revenge as Siddaramaiah had said ahead of the elections that the JD(S) would not even win 30 seats.

    Also Read | Karnataka election may be the last where netas can contest from two seats

    The JD(S) has brought in the likes of Srinivasa Prasad and A H Vishwanath to snatch away as many AHINDA votes as possible which Siddaramaiah banks heavily on.

    Overall it would be a very interesting constituency to watch out for. The writing on the wall is the battle ahead is anything but easy for Siddaramaiah.

    Karnataka Assembly Election dates
    Date of notification April 17
    Last date to file nominations April 24
    Last date to withdraw nominations April 27
    Date of polling May 12
    Date of counting May 15

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