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Karnataka elections: Tough battle ahead for Siddaramaiah in Chamundeshwari

By Vikas

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has decided to contest his 'last election' from Chamundeshwari constituency in Mysuru. In the 2013 elections, Siddaramaiah had won from Varuna constituency, which is considered a safe seat for the incumbent CM. Siddaramaiah has decided to field his son Dr Yathindra, who will be making his electoral debut, from Varuna seat this time around.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah

Siddaramaiah won five times from Chamundeshwari between 1983 and 2008. First time as an independent. Second time on Janata Party, third time on Janata Dal, fourth time on JDS and the last time on Congress ticket.

Siddaramaiah has been in Mysuru for around four days now and touring his constituency to connect with the people. Despite having won from Chamundeshwari, it may not be easy for him to repeat the feat for several reasons.

The current MLA of Chamundeshwari is JD (S)' GT Deve Gowda who is a strong leader in Mysore district. In this constituency, Vokkaligas constitute the dominant community, followed by the Kurubas, Nayaks, Lingayats and Dalits. Vokkaligas are considered JD (S)'s vote bank and have traditionally voted for HD Deve Gowda-led party.

GT Devegowda has been openly inviting Siddaramaiah to contest from Chamundeshwari against him. His confidence stems from the fact that two influential leaders -- Dalit leader V Srinivasa Prasad and former Congress MP A H Vishwanath- are backing him. V Srinivasa Prasad, who joined BJP after a public spat with Siddaramaiah, has vowed to defeat him this time. Speaking to News18, he said, "Siddaramaiah has insulted all Dalits by humiliating me. We will teach him a lesson this time."

Siddaramaiah would hope to get the support of the Kuruba and Lingayat communities. Siddaramaiah is from Kuruba community, but caste politics may not work here as the voters see him as their chief minister, not as a Kuruba or OBC.

Siddaramaiah's move to field his son from Varuna may also be seen by the people as an attempt to promote dynasty politics. The has also not given a strong reason for choosing Chamundeshwari seat over Varuna. He, in fact, expressed his dilemma when he told voters that the people of Varuna also wanted him to contest but he opted for Chamundeshwari.

Finally, Siddarmaiah has resorted to making a sentimental appeal to the voters by saying that this is his 'last election'. This sentimental appeal may work to an extent but what people really want is development. A News 18 report says that people of Chamudeshwari feel that he has not done enough for their villages. When Siddaramaiah told them that it was the fault of current JDS MLA G T Deve Gowda, they shut his mouth by saying that being a chief minister he could have released funds for the development work, the report further said.

So, all in all, Siddaramaiah is taking a huge risk just to make the entry of his son into politics easy. This is exactly the way his move to not contest from Varuna will be seen, and this perception is going to hurt the 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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