While policemen shedding khaki for khadi is not a new trend in the State politics, this Assembly elections will see a large number of former police officers in the fray with nearly a dozen of them trying hard to get the tickets from major political parties.
Of these ticket aspirants, some have taken voluntary retirement to contest the polls while a few others had unsuccessfully contested the previous Assembly elections.
Former Bangalore Police Commissioner P Kodandaramaiah, who was the first top police officer to taste electoral success when he won the 1996 Lok Sabha elections from Chitradurga as a nominee of the then undivided Janata Dal, has now sought the Congress ticket for the Hiriyur constituency in Chitradurga district. But, the party, it is said, is planning to field sitting Independent MLA D Sudhakar. But, Kondaramaiah says,“Sudhakar is facing the possibility of CBI prosecution. How can the Congress, which is against corruption, give him the ticket?’ Sudhakar is an accused in a banking fraud case being probed by the CBI.
Among the Congress ticket aspirants, it is only B C Patil, sitting MLA from Hirekerur in Haveri district, and a former police inspector who is sure of getting the ticket. Patil, who quit the department in 2002, is a second-time MLA.
The Congress is yet to announce the candidature of former Assistant Commissioner of police (ACP) B K Shivaram from Malleswaram in Bangalore. He is the elder brother of B K Hariprasad, AICC general secretary. He took voluntary retirement in 2007 to enter public life. He says he will not contest polls if the party denies him the ticket.
Former Deputy Commissioner of Police G Ahmed Bawa is hoping against hope that the Congress would field him from the Hebbal constituency in Bangalore. The Bantwal native had actively campaigned for M Veerappa Moily in Chikkaballapur during 2009 Lok Sabha elections. “I was told to contest from Chamarajpet. But, I am a resident of Hebbal,” Bava said.
Retired DGP Shankar Bidari and former ACP Solabeshwarappa are also aspirants for the Congress tickets from Teradal and Hangal respectively. Another former ACP N M Iter may be the BSR Congress candidate from Hirekerur.
The JD(S) has decided to field four former policemen. One of them, Cheluvaraj will take on senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah in the Varuna constituency in Mysore district. Cheluvaraj, a former ACP and a native of T Narasipur, took voluntary retirement two months ago. He claims that Siddaramaiah is not a ‘big threat’ and ‘casteist’ people will be shown the door in this election, even as he says that his Naik community would support him in a big way.
Retired Inspector General of Police M C Narayana Gowda, now with the JD(S), has already launched his campaign in the Chickpet constituency in Bangalore. “I am contesting an election for the first time. All these years, I was only used to receive salute from my subordinates. Now, I am going before the people, with folded hands, pleading for votes,” he said, with a tinge of humour. Gowda, who hails from Srinivasapur in Kolar district, has been a close associate of the Deve Gowda family for long.
The JD(S) is fielding former ACP Abdul Azeem, also a former MLC, from Hebbal. He took retirement in 2004 when he still had nine years of service left. He lost the 2004 Assembly polls from Binnypet.
Former IPS officer Subhash Bharani will be the JD(S) candidate from Gandhinagar in Bangalore where he will face the sitting Congress MLA Dinesh Gundu Rao.
One police officer who was in the news for all the wrong reasons when D V Sadananda Gowda was the chief minister was the then ACP Lokeshwar, who had a tiff with senior IAS officer INS Prasad. Lokeshwar, who quit the service in December 2012 to join the KJP, will contest from Tiptur. A family member of S Mallikarjunaiah, former deputy speaker of Lok Sabha, Lokeshwar, a Lingayat, claims: “The BJP workers in Tiptur are now with the KJP. So, I am confident of wresting the seat from the BJP.”