MYSURU: Hunsur constituency, the home turf of backward classes messiah and former CM D Devaraj Urs, is set for a triangular contest, with caste as the deciding factor. The constituency is dominated by Vokkaligas, Kurubas, Dalits, Lingayats and minorities.
The Urs political legacy seems to hold good even today, with the three parties, especially the BJP, working on social engineering to win the seat. Hunsur has traditionally voted the Congress and JDS.
The BJP, whose CH Vijayshankar won the seat in 1996, wants to win eight seats to stabilise its government. It has adopted the tune of empowerment of the voiceless and depressed sections, hoping to garner their votes. Although the public tends to favour the ruling party in bypolls, it has proved otherwise in some states, with a majority of defectors tasting defeat. This has heightened anxiety in the BJP.
Having managed to win Mysore-Kodagu and Chamarajanagar Lok Sabha seats, apart from three assembly seats in this belt, the party is hoping to ride over the resentment against Operation Lotus. It is deploying a formidable multi-caste campaign team to take on Ahinda leader Siddaramaiah and JDS supremo HD Deve Gowda, and appeal to all sections of society.
The team comprises Lingayat strongman BS Yediyurappa, Nayaka leader B Sriramulu, Dalit leader MP V Srinivasa Prasad, MP Prathap Simha, a Vokkaliga, besides former MP CH Vijayshankar and candidate AH Vishwanath, both from the Kuruba community. The constituency has more than 12,000 Adivasi voters in Nagarahole National Park area. The BJP is also banking on disgruntled JDS MLA GT Deve Gowda, who has considerable influence in Hunsur.
The Congress, meanwhile, is banking on Siddaramaiah’s leadership to consolidate the Kuruba, backward and minority vote, and plans to bring in Dalit, Vokkaliga and minority leaders to campaign. But Vishwanath and Vijayshankar may cut into the Kuruba votes.
The bypolls are also expected to be a referendum of sorts on the popularity of Siddaramaiah, and if the Congress wins a good number of seats, it could open the doors for a mid-term poll.The JDS is hoping to retain its stronghold, earlier won by Deve Gowda and Vishwanath, and is keen to consolidate the Vokkaliga vote.
Former CM HD Kumaraswamy preferred to field local businessman Somashekar, and clarified that the JDS does not have an understanding with any rival party. He has brought out a list of loan waiver beneficiaries, which is doing the rounds in the villages of Hunsur and KR Pet.
KR Pet in Mandya will also witness a triangular contest, with BJP fielding disqualified MLA Narayana Gowda. BJP has taken up the contest as a matter of prestige, as it is the home district of Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, and is considered to be a JDS bastion. It is hoping for support from MP Sumalatha Ambareesh and the Raitha Sangha.
The Congress has fielded former MLA KB Chandrashekar. JDS has fielded sitting ZP member BL Devaraj. The Gowda family, especially HD Revanna, wants to settle scores with Narayana Gowda, who had complained that the family was interfering in administration.