RAMANAGAR: Come Saturday, when around two lakh voters from Ramanagara Assembly segment exercise their franchise, choosing their next elected representative will merely be a formality. The BJP workers who were hoping for a shock victory for their candidate in the Vokkaliga bastion, were left embarrassed after the party candidate L Chandrashekar stepped down from the contest at the eleventh hour and extended his support to Anita Kumaraswamy, the candidate of the Congress-JD(S) coalition. However, BJP leadership had been sceptical about its prospects in the Assembly segment.
As a result, the only major political activity in the constituency during the last day of campaigning on Thursday was a mock funeral of Chandrashekar conducted by BJP workers along with a few flexes of ‘heartfelt condolences’ installed in the city. The number of BJP workers gathered during the mock funeral led some JD(S) workers to quip that the BJP candidate would have remained in the fray if only a similar number of supporters had participated in his campaign.
Political activity has, meanwhile, come to a halt in the constituency. “Till Wednesday, there was hectic campaigning in the city. However, after Chandrashekar decided to back Anita, all political activities have stopped,” said Gangadhar, a shopkeeper in the city. “There are no vehicles with blaring microphones urging people to vote for a party, nor are there any teams involved in the last minute door-to-door campaigning,” he said.
Due to the developments, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, who was scheduled to address a rally seeking votes for his wife, also cancelled his rally.
BJP workers were furious following the announcement by Chandrashekar. “We were happy to have a local candidate with a chance to win the elections. Electing Anita Kumaraswamy was not an option as we were sure that she would not remain and work here,” said Rajkumar Gowda, co-convener of Ramanagara BJP unit. Another BJP worker, Dasharath Rao, who quit the JD(S) youth wing recently, said the BJP candidate was gaining support as the constituency was reduced to elect candidates from just one family.
Leelavathi too joins JD(S)
BJP suffered another jolt after its candidate in the Assembly polls held in May this year, Leelavathi joined the JD(S). “There has been discord regarding Anita’s candidature which ensured that Chandrashekar had a chance to win the elections. However, support from BJP leadership for him was hard to come by,” she said.
‘He might have been threatened’District BJP president
M Rudresh alleged that Chandrashekar might have been threatened by Minister D K Shivakumar. “He had campaigned till 2.30pm on Wednesday and had left for Bengaluru to make some financial arrangements. Later, he called me at 10.30pm and said he was returning in the morning.”