Lok Sabha Election 2019: Mysuru poised for interesting electoral battle
Mysuru, Apr 02: Traditionally, a Congress bastion, the Mysore Lok Sabha constituency with eight Assembly segments throws up both urban-specific and rural issues for political parties in the fray.
With 17,23,134 voters in the constituency, of whom 8,55,241 are women and 8,67,893 voters are men, the stakes are high for the Congress-JD(S) coalition in Mysore.
Going by the history so far, as many as 13 candidates from Congress and three candidates from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been elected to the Parliament.
Interestingly, Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), which is a traditional opponent of Congress, has failed to open its account till today.
BJP vs Congress
This constituency, all these years, was witnessing a triangular fight between Congress, JD(S) and the BJP since the last 28 years.
In a first, the Mysore constituency, which was witnessing a triangular fight between Congress, JD(S) and the BJP since the last 28 years is now witnessing a straight contest between Congress and BJP as JD(S) as part of seat-sharing pact between the coalition partners.
Vokkaligas play a crucial role
The constituency has a blend of Vokkaligas, Kurubas, Dalits, Lingayats, Naiks and religious minorities, and caste equations.
Each party is devising strategies to win over the "Lingayat vote bank'' to neutralise the "Vokkaliga support'' of its rivals or vice versa and secure a majority by winning the "Naika votes'' in conjunction with "Muslim" and "Kuruba" votes.
The JD(S), led by former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, poses a formidable challenge to the BJP in the region that has a high concentration of Vokkaligas. Part of the old Mysore region also comprises former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's stronghold of Mysuru district.
Real issues never gets noticed
Mysore-Kodagu Lok Sabha constituency is part of the Cauvery basin. Drinking water scarcity, hortage of fodder, lack of employment, absence of civic amenities, confusion over property tax, inadequate healthcare facilities in rural areas, and the crisis in the agricultural sector are the issues around which the debate should have raged in Mysore district.
In the urban belt, the issues revolve around the issues of not only improving the civic governance, but also putting the city on the tourism and industrial map of India.
Though non-governmental organisations raise these issues, the political parties make a passing reference. In Mysore, discussions by the elected representatives, including councillors, revolve around caste politics and not real issues.
However, no single issue dominates the eight Assembly segments of the Parliamentary constituency. In the rural hinterland of Piriyapatna and Hunsur, issues related to tobacco cultivators engage the attention of the parties, while further west, coffee growers have their say.
Its a direct contest between Simha and C H Vijayashankar
It will be for the first time in recent decades that the Mysuru parliamentary constituency will witness a direct fight in which the Congress-JD(S) combine will be pitted against the saffron party.
Though caste factor plays a key role in Mysore constituency, political analysts feel that Prathap Simha has fair chance in retaining the constituency. The party has good image in urban area, where the BJP can get major share of votes. In Kodagu, hindutva card pays for the BJP.
But statistics indicate that the combined vote share of the Congress and the Janata Dal has been numerically higher than what the BJP had harvested in all the elections that it won since 1998. Political observers are of the view that the ensuing battle between the Congress-JD(S) combine against the BJP will be an interesting battle in which the latter cannot have it easy.
Going by the past, the Lingayat and Vokkaliga community's voter turnout on 18 April could play a crucial role in determining BJP's fortunes in the Lok Sabha elections.