Chamarajanagara, Karnataka, Apr 15 : Five time MP and former Union and Karnataka Minister Srinivas Prasad is attempting to make a re-entry to Lok Sabha in Chamarajanagara (Reserved) seat by defeating sitting Congress MP Dhruvanarayana in the first phase of Polling slated for April 18. While Srinivas Prasad, who had won the seat on Congress and JDU ticket in the earlier election, has joined BJP quitting Congress after being dropped from the State Cabinet, Druvanarayana is a joint candidate of coalition partners Congress and JDS.
Besides, former UP Chief Minister Mayawati led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has put up its candidate in an attempt to make a inroad. BSP's attempt comes following victory of its candidate N Mahesh from Kollegal Assembly constituency in the 2018 election. Mahesh, the first time winner, was also made Cabinet Minister by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy. However, he quit following Mayawati coming out of 'Mahaghatabandan'. BSP surprised many by winning nine out of the 30 seats in the Kollegal City Municipal Council (CMC) in the elections held in September last.
BSP State General Secretary Arkalavadi Nagendra said that “the party’s support base is not confined to Kollegal Assembly but the support is spread in H D Kote, T Narsipur, Varuna and other Constituencies also.
Srinivas Prasad had contested general elections from Chamarajanagar as many as seven times since 1980 and won the seat four times on Congress ticket and once on JD(U) ticket. The victory in 1999 saw him he became Union Minister under A B Vajpayee Cabinet. Prasad’s attempt to re-enter Lok Sabha, after two decade, is expected to ensure that Dhruvanarayan's victory who has established himself and has became a popular among the voters. This time the battle for him is different since he has to wage war against his one time Political mentor (guru).
Talking to UNI, Dhruvanaryana said that he has been banking on development works he had undertaken during his two terms -- it may be National Highway works, establishment of Agriculture College, Law College, Passport Centre and other Railway Works. Besides, JDS is also supporting him as per Coalition agreement. " I am not worried about Srinivasa Prasad attempting to make a re-entry as Congress party has its own hold in the constituency", he added. Absence of JDS candidate may arrest division of votes this time, but the growing popularity of BSP in parts of the constituency, particularly in Kollegal, which is represented by the BSP’s former Minister N. Mahesh in the Assembly, may to some extent affect progress of the Congress candidate.
The BSP derives its support from the same sections of the society that have been traditionally supporting the Congress, even though Prasad had carved political space for himself in the region as a leader of the Dalits. Even if the BSP is not strong enough to emerge victorious, it has the potential to hurt the prospects of the Congress, said Mallikarjunappa, a BJP leader from Chamarajanagar. Apart from Prasad’s traditional ties with the voters, the BJP is banking on the Lingayats and the popularity of former Chief Minister and BJP State President B S Yeddyurappa among them. The Congress is getting support of A R Krishnamurthy, who finished second as the BJP’s candidate in the last two elections and has been actively campaigning for Dhruvanarayan.
The constituency comprise of Hanur, Chamarajanagar, Kollegal and Gundlupet Assembly segments in Chamarajanagar Revenue District and H D Kote, Nanjangud, Varuna, and T Narsipur in Mysuru revenue District — is home to not only Lingayats and Dalits, but also a sizeable number of Upparas, Nayakas and Vokkaligas. Congress had won four assembly seats in 2018 election (Chamarajanagara, Hanur, H D Kote and Varuna, while BJP had won Gundlupet and Nanjangud, JDS in T Narasipura. There are 16.80 lakh eligible voters and 10 candidates in the fray. The BJP is banking on the ‘Modi wave’ to a great extent. Besides, the mood is upbeat in the BJP camp with the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and other leaders are campaigning besides the party is hoping to consolidate the Lingayat votes. (UNI)