MYSURU: The RR Nagar and Sira Assembly bypolls have a ripple effect in Ramanagara, Kanakapura and parts of Mandya too, as the Congress and JDS are digging into their resources to win the two Vokkaliga-dominated constituencies in a three-way contest with the BJP.
The two parties have brought in their foot soldiers from their traditional strong pockets for campaigning.
If the by-polls are a prestige issue for the ruling BJP, they are a matter of pride for both KPCC president D K Shivakumar and JDS leader H D Kumaraswamy, as they want to gain control over the community and also retain the seats that they had won in the general election.
As both want to pick from the common Vokklaiga basket, they have brought in leaders and loyalists from nearby Ramanagara and Kanakapura constituencies. The JDS, which is struggling to match the resources and big leaders of the BJP and Congress, is trying to motivate its cadre through extensive tours by party patriarch H Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy in Sira.
Shiva Kumar, who is facing his first big test after assuming charge as the state Congress unit chief, has also summoned his loyalists from Kanakapura, Ramanagara and parts of Malavalli, assigning them key poll responsibilities. Former Chamarajanagar MP R Dhruvanarayan, district president Gangadhar, ZP chief H N Ashok, MLC Ravi, former MLA Balakrishna, former ZP Chief Iqbal Hussian, former MLA Narendra Swamy and zilla and taluk panchayat members have all been earmarked specific assignments to reach out to voters with roots in Kanakapura, Ramanagara and Magadi but settled in R R Nagar.
Shiva Kumar himself is leading the campaign from the front and eyeing consolidation of Vokkaliga voters. Former minister Narendraswamy said that they are working hard to retain the RR Nagar seat and working hard to ensure the victory of first-time poll contestant H Kusuma. On the other side, Deve Gowda, who is nearing 90, and H D Kumaraswamy, who has serious ailments, have also brought in their own set of leaders to both constituencies.
Though many leaders had stayed away from campaigning because of the pandemic, they have assured the party top leadership that they will do their bit in the last three days of campaigning. Former minister and JDS leader Sa Ra Mahesh said that they are all sweating it out to ensure the victory of Krishnamurthy. If not for the pandemic, there would have been a long line of party leaders campaigning for our candidates, he added. Former mayor Ravi said that they are working in teams to reach out to voters cutting across caste lines as the BJP has launched an aggressive campaign, making inroads into the constituency.