BENGALURU: While the 17 disqualified legislators are running from pillar to post to find some respite to their dangling political career, parties seem to be making preparations for by-polls in earnest. In the absence of clarity on whether the alliance with Congress will continue, the JDS seems to be making an independent effort to make its presence louder, at least in Bengaluru.
Three out of the 17 disqualified legislators belonged to the JDS and now the party is on a vengeance to win more than it has lost. Its primary focus, at least in Bengaluru, now are the Yeshwanthpura and Rajarajeshwari Nagar assembly seats-both held previously by the Congress, apart from Mahalakshmi layout that the JDS held themselves.
Hopeful that factors like candidate, caste, cause, campaign and people’s anger against disqualified MLAs will work in their favour, the JDS has put in place an action plan to win more seats in the city to fight off its image of a “rural party”.
The party is keen on fielding TN Javarai Gowda in Yeshwanthpur assembly seat. The JDS candidate lost to ST Somashekhar of the Congress by 12,000 votes after securing more than 1.10 lakh votes. With public sentiment against Somashekhar, JDS hopes to benefit.
HD Devegowda’s party believes that it has a chance to win the Rajarajeshwari Nagar assembly segment too depending on the candidate Congress picks, this in case the alliance no longer stands. “Muniratna backing BJP will not help because core voters, leader and workers of BJP are dead against Muniratna in Rajarajeshwari Nagar. We will see political polarisation depending on the candidate,” Ramesh Babu said.
Focus on seats in Bengaluru doesn’t mean that the party is disinterested in Hunsur and KR Pete either. Scores of workers of the JDS have been mooting the idea of another member of the HD Devegowda family making their political debut. Devegowda’s elder daughter Anusuya Manjunath’s name is being propped up by the cadre but the leadership is yet to take a call on the same.
The reluctance, party insiders suggest, comes from the bitter memories of Nikhil Kumar’s humiliating defeat in Mandya Lok Sabha polls that was largely attributed to an overdose of one family dominating the party.
“In five assembly segments in Bengaluru, the pulse of the people is against those who abandoned their parties. People want to teach them a lesson. There is an undercurrent that will either benefit the JDS or the Congress,” said Ramesh Babu, Spokesperson, JDS.