It would not be wrong to say that the defeat in Koratagere in 2013 cost Dr. G Parameshwar the chief minister's chair. Although there was Siddaramaiah leading the campaign Parameshwar was always in contention for several reasons, one of which was that he is an old-timer in the Congress.
The two contests that were closely watched were the ones in Varuna and Koratagere from Siddaramaiah and Parameshwar were battling their respective opponents. There was, in fact, no moral ground for Parameshwar to claim the CM's chair following this shock defeat.
Parameshwar was in a battle against Sudhakara Lal P R of the JD(S). The JD(S) candidate polled 72,229 votes as opposed to 54,074 that Parameshwar polled. In the 2008 election, Parameshwar won this seat with 49,276 votes while his opponent Chandraiah of the JD(S) polled 37,719 votes.
Since 1962, there have been 12 elections held in this constituency of which the Congress has won it 6 times. The constituency was under the general category until 2004. However, following the delimitation exercise in 2008, it has become reserved for an SC.
All is well?
Back in 2013, there were strong rumours that Siddaramaiah had a hand in the defeat of Parameshwar. The tension between the two leaders was very visible, but none admitted it in public. The differences appear to be ironed out Siddaramaiah who had not attended Parameshwar's campaign in 2013 was present at a mega rally this time in Koratagere.
From the ground, one gets the impression that Parameshwar could easily sail through this time. With the large Kuruba community declaring open support and the BJP fielding a strong candidate, there would be a triangular fight which is expected to benefit Parameshwar.
Further, if the equations go right for Parameshwar and he is able to rope in a majority f the ST Nayaka votes through his friend MLA, K N Rajanna, then he is in with a good chance.
The bigger problem that Parameshwar faced in 2013 was that it was a direct contest between him and Lal. The BJP had fielded a weak candidate who polled just 3,500 votes while the KJP ended up with 15,000 votes. Parameshar's hopes would also lie in the BJP fielding a strong candidate. Back in 2008 when he won, the fight was a triangular one. The JD(S) candidate polled 37,719 votes while Parameshwar had bagged 49,276 votes. The BJP had in 2008 bagged 33,000 votes. This was an indicator that the BJP had eaten into the JD(S) votes which had helped Parameshwar.
This year, the BJP is planning on fielding either Y H Huchaiah or Gangahanumaiah a ticket. Both are strong candidates and are capable of polling a large number of votes. However, Parameshwar would hope once again that the BJP eats into the JD(S) vote share which would make the going easy for him.
The sympathy wave:
The voters do realise this time that in 2013, Parameshwar missed the CM's chair by a whisker. Most voters see the Congress coming back to power and feel that they must give Parameshwar a chance.
Parameshwar this time has spent a considerable amount of time in his constituency and has been going all out to connect with the voter. He has been working overtime to get the caste equations right as well. He feels that he is in with a very good chance this time.
The other factor that Parameshwar is backing on is the anti-incumbency against the sitting MLA, Lal. The people have been complaining about the lack of development works in the constituency. The voters point towards the roads that are incomplete. Howeve,r Lal begs to differ and say that he has not been working for the constituency after he became the MLA but since the past 18 years. He says that the Congress government never released funds as a result of which some of the work has remained incomplete. His followers join him in the chorus to echo their leader's thoughts.
The caste equation:
There are 60,000 and 20,000 SC and STs in this constituency respectively. The Lingayat/Veerashaivas are 20,000 in number while the Vokkaligas are a population numbering 30,000. The Muslims are 12,000 in number while the Kurubas population is at 14,000. There are the Tigalas and Gollas who are 11,000 and 12,000 in number. The remaining from the Madivala and other communities are 20,000 in number.
One of the major mistakes that Parameshwar had rectified was to take a stand on the Sadashiva Commission's report. He was criticised by the SC's community's left faction for not taking a stand over the issue.
The SC communities had united over the commission's report. Parameshwar had said that he is not opposed to the implementation of the report.
|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|