RAMANAGARA: Former Chief Minister and JD(S) state president H D Kumaraswamy appears to be heading for a fourth consecutive victory in Ramanagara constituency. The Chief Ministerial candidate of the JD(S) is facing political lightweights from rival Congress and BJP. Congress candidate H V Iqbal Hussain, a former zilla panchayat president and H Leelavathi of BJP, a political greenhorn who failed to win even in ZP election, are being seen as no match to take on the JD(S) strongman.
The Congress’ choice of candidate has sparked rumours of a secret pact between Kumaraswamy and Congress Campaign Committee chief D K Shivakumar as the JD(S) has fielded a “weak candidate” (Narayana Gowda) in Shivakumar’s Kanakapura constituency. BJP leadership too has earned the wrath of local party workers after it declared Leelavathi against the wishes of party rank and file who had expected former MP Tejaswini Gowda to be the candidate.
Kumaraswamy has emerged as an unassailable leader in this Vokkaliga-dominated constituency, which has given three Chief Ministers to the state — Kengal Hanumanthaiah, H D Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy. Apart from the caste factor, Kumaraswamy has succeeded in establishing a strong connect with electorate from all the communities as it was he, who as the CM in 2007, gave the district tag for Ramanagara. Sensing the mood of the electorate in Ramanagara, Kumaraswamy has said he would campaign just one day in the constituency and he is expected to visit it on May 10.
“We have no reason to look beyond Kumaraswamy to elect our representative. Though he is not in a position to devote much time for the constituency, many development works were launched when he was the CM. We want him to be the CM again,” says Narasappa, a silk reeler. This is the view generally heard in the constituency. Though Ramanagaram is just 45 km from Bengaluru, the constituency scores poor in civic amenities. Lack of irrigation facilities and permanent drinking water works are the main issues that the electorate are expecting their MLA to redress on war-footing.