Battle for Karnataka: Kolar emerges among top seats for Siddaramaiah to contest

Considered a Cong stronghold, constituency profile suits ex-CM

Published: 17th August 2022 06:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th August 2022 06:24 AM   |  A+A-

Congress Legislature Party leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah at a Youth Congress rally in Bengaluru on Sunday | express

Express News Service

MYSURU: After Siddaramostava, the mega birthday bash of Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah, his close associates are now prevailing upon him to soon finalise the Assembly seat to contest from in the 2023 elections. Siddaramaiah’s followers want him to aim for the chief minister’s post again and pick a safe seat. Haunted by his loss from Chamundeshwari in 2018, they are getting an internal survey done, taking the feedback from leaders of several constituencies so that Siddaramaiah can sail through easily. Such a seat would free him up to campaign across the state, they said.

Requests are pouring in asking him to contest from Varuna, Koppal, Badami, Kolar and Chamarajpet seats, and his followers want him to make the choice in a couple of months so that they can prepare the ground. Kolar is emerging as one of the favourites, not just for Siddaramaiah, but also for a section of party leaders. KPCC working president R Druvanarayan wants him back in Varuna, terming it lucky for the former CM as people from all sections want him to contest.

Kolar is among the top choices as it is considered a stronghold of Congress. Along with a large number Dalits and Muslims, the constituency has a good population of backward classes and Vokkaligas. Also, over 50 per cent of electorate is Kuruba. BJP is not a potent force here, while JDS, which managed to win previously, is on the  decline after sitting MLA Srinivasa Gowda identified with Congress and was expelled from the party

Congress has won from the seat only four times since 1957. After its victory in 2004, the party base started eroding with former minister Vartur  Prakash and Srinivasa Gowda switching over to JDS in 2008. It will be interesting if Siddaramaiah chooses to run from here, bring leaders back to the party fold and organise workers at the booth level. He also has to balance between the factions of former minister S Ramesh Kumar and former Union Minister KH Muniyappa. With JDS being a potential threat, he must also reach out to Vokkaligas and Muslims, who make up 25 per cent of the  electorate.

Political observers felt that Siddaramaiah’s entry into Kolar will have a ripple effect in the undivided Kolar district, where JDS is a force. It will help sitting Congress MLAs overcome anti-incumbency. Logistically too, Kolar is convenient as it is just 60 km from Bengaluru, they added. His supporters are looking to harp on the KC Valley project to fill up tanks in the drought-prone region and point out that it was part of the Bhagirath scheme introduced during his tenure as chief minister. An invitation from Srinivasa Gowda for Siddaramaiah to contest from here will be an icing on the cake. Sources said Siddaramaiah has not thought of  returning to Varuna, but is also not too keen on Chamrajpet as he has never fought from an urban pocket in his entire career. 

Kolar a gold mine?

 Congress last won the poll  from Kolar in 2004
 Profile: Dalits, Muslims, Vokkaligas, Kuruba’s, OBCs
 KC Valley project likely to work in the former CM’s favour.  
 Factionalism in Congress may add to Siddaramaiah’s worries
 Proximity to Bengaluru city
 Kolar, Varuna, Koppal, Badami, Chamrajpet are among  favourites for him to contest in 2023


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