Eight more days to go for elections to the Assembly, Periyapatna constituency has become a cynosure for all eyes. More than that, the prestige of many is at stake here. For the newly anointed Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, it’s indeed a challenge to see to it that his close aide and sitting MLA K Venkatesh makes it again to the Assembly. It’s a do or die bout for the Janata Dal (Secular) to increase its tally from 40 MLAs.
What makes the turf a bit hot is the two-day campaign tour of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah starting from May 20. Siddaramaiah is expected to visit Kamplapura, Bekhya, Panchavalli, Saththegala, Hunasavadi, Soolekatte among other villages.
Former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy, who is also State JD(S) president, has already completed his two-day tour on Sunday. K Mahadev the JD(S) candidate is toiling hard to wrest the seat from three time MLA Venkatesh. Both the candidates belong to the dominant Vokkaliga community here. KJP, that had fielded former MLA H C Basavaraju, has decided to remain neutral, according to a recent development.
If gone by the history of the segment, it has been a Congress stronghold ever since the maiden polls to the Assembly in 1952. Congress has represented the constituency six times, Janata parivar four times, independents twice and BJP once.
Interestingly, the maiden polls was won by an independent S M Mariyappa by a slender margin of 534 votes, pushing Congress’ H M Channabasappa to the second place. In the subsequent election of 1957, Congress gained an upper hand with its nominee N R Somanna defeating another independent T Venkataram. Congress retained the seat in 1962 with its nominee K M Devayya winning the polls. H M Channabasappa, who had lost the first ever polls as a Congress candidate, succeeded in 1967, but as an independent. Channabasappa, who contested the next polls (1972) as a Congress candidate, retained the seat.
The power that was changing hands between independents and Congress, saw a twist with K S Kalamarigowda of Janata Party winning in 1978. However, it fell into the Congress’ hands again in 1983, as Kalamarigowda contested on a Congress ticket and won. The elections of 1985 saw the entry of K Venkatesh, who tasted his first electoral success as a Janata Party nominee. However, Kalamarigowda made a comeback in 1989 on a Janata Dal ticket. The following elections saw re-election of Venkatesh after a gap of five years, in 1994, as a Janata Dal candidate.
The elections of 1999 saw the emergence of the saffron force here, with BJP candidate H C Basavaraju’s victory. Basavaraju is the son of previous MLA H M Channabasappa.
In the subsequent two elections, Venkatesh won — but on different party symbols; JD(S) in 2004 and Congress in 2008.
Venkatesh was the only Vokkaliga JD(S) MLA who followed his leader Siddaramaiah into Congress, when the latter quit the party (JDS) in 2006.
Of the total electorate of 1.62 lakh, Vokkaligas are dominant with 33,000 votes, followed by Kurubas-30,000, SCs, STs, Lingayats, Muslims and Nayakas in good numbers.