Seasoned Gowda vs 15 greenhorns

Seasoned Gowda vs 15 greenhorns

It will be a four-term veteran pitted against 15 novices in the June 10 election to the Legislative Council from the Bangalore Graduates’ constituency.

BJP has fielded Ramachandra Gowda, 74 - who had to resign as medical education minister over the recruitment scam - for the fifth time. The Congress and JD(S) have pitted greenhorns Ramojam and A Devegowda, respectively, against Gowda.

The other notable contenders are Loksatta party’s Ashwin Mahesh, an urban governance expert, who is contesting for the first time. K S Lakshmi, who came third in the 2006 election - is contesting from the CPM.

Gowda’s electioneering strategy has changed little over the years. Like previous years, this time too he has focused his energies on government institutions, co-operative societies and banks.

He is attending seven to eight weddings every day for the opportunity of meeting several voters in one go. He says this is a success formula that will pay rich dividends this time too.

His confidence has not dissuaded the other candidates from taking the election seriously. They are, in fact, trying to cash on the allegations levelled against Gowda and his party.

Mahesh has garnered the support of anti-corruption crusader Justice Santosh Hegde. He has also tapped into the IT crowd and premier institutions like IIM-B and IISc, by roping in personalities like former Infosys director Mohandas Pai.

CPM politburo member Brinda Karat endorsed Lakshmi’s candidature at a public discussion programme in Bangalore recently.

Congress’ Ramojam, 40, who has headed teachers’ and employees’ associations in Bangalore, has focused his energies on teachers rather than graduates. He said that a majority of the 36,000-odd voters he helped get registered are teachers.

“It is very difficult to get graduates who have never registered before to do so and come out of their homes on a holiday to vote. I have, instead, focused on ensuring that the voters that I have nurtured over the last eight months come out and vote.”

Independent candidate Y Nata Shekara Sharma, who was formerly with the BJP and BSP, had campaigned for Gowda on two occasions. He is contesting the elections himself this time. He says he has an edge over Gowda as he knows the strengths and weaknesses of the BJP leader.

JD(S) nominee

JD(S) leaders have left the decision on the candidate for the Legislative Council polls from the Assembly to party chief H D Deve Gowda.

State party president H D Kumaraswamy, who held a meeting with party MLAs, is learnt to have shortlisted four names – Afzal Agha, Suryanarayana Reddy, C Narayanaswamy and Basavanagouda Patil Yatnal – and sent the list to Gowda to select one of them. Gowda is likely to announce the candidate on Thursday, sources said.

June 1 is the last date for filing nomination papers for the elections scheduled on June 11. With 26 MLAs, the JD(S) can win one of the 11 seats for which elections will be held.

At least 19 first preference votes are required for a candidate to get elected.

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