TUMKUR: The loyalty of two MLAs — Tumkur City and Rural, both of the BJP — has, of late, become the talking point in political circles here. Four-time MLA Sogadu Shivanna, a Lingayat, who enjoyed a ministerial berth in the shortlived BJP-JD(S) coalition government was deliberately denied a berth when B S Yeddyurappa came to power.
However, sources close to Shivanna deny that he was snubbed and that all his proposals, including those on development front, were attended to. With the change of guard in the state government, the buzz is that he is nursing hopes of a Cabinet berth. He had conspicuously distanced himself from B S Yeddyurappa during the latter’s visit to Tumkur after he lost the post of chief minister.
His recent meeting with state BJP president K S Eshwarappa in Shimoga is added proof of his change in loyalty. He had, however, maintained that the visit was a casual one, clarifying that he was not longing for a ministerial berth in the Cabinet expansion. Yet, he had added, he would be ready to shoulder the responsibility if given an opportunity.
On the other side of the spectrum stands Tumkur Rural MLA Suresh Gowda who backed Yeddyurappa to the hilt; the recent show of strength for him at a Sahitya Sammelan at Bellave should serve testimony to this.
But Gowda has done a balancing act given his proximity to Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda. He had earlier invited the CM to inaugurate many a development work in the constituency. With Lingayats constituting a sizeable vote bank in the region, followed by Vokkaligas, this balancing act could prove to be advantageous to him. A Lingayat leader on condition of anonymity told Express: “Shivanna’s change in loyalty would fetch him immediate dividends, but would dent his long-range prospects.”