JD(S) has just 2 MLAs in Chikkaballapur having mainly OBC, SC/ST voters
Politicians may well hop parties before an election to get tickets but senior leaders usually shy away from changing their constituencies.
But JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy is all set to take that gamble, as he is likely to contest from Chikkaballapur, instead of his bastion, Bangalore Rural.
Going by the vote share the JD(S) secured in recent elections, however, it is Bangalore Rural which has remained loyal to it rather than Chikkaballapur. Still, Kumaraswamy is shedding tears and moving out of the Rural district constituency, thanks to the growing influence of Minister D K Shivakumar there.
In the 2013 Assembly elections, the JD(S) garnered about 23 per cent of the vote share in Bangalore Rural spread across eight Assembly segments, while in Chikkaballapur it could weave control over 25 pc of the voters.
The point, however, is that in Chikkaballapur, the JD(S) has just two MLAs compared with the three in Bangalore Rural. Except for Ramanagar, not a single constituency remained faithful to the JD(S). Kumaraswamy, MLA from Ramanagar, had secured 56.12 pc of the polled votes in 2013.
The voter population is, however, more in Bangalore Rural. That means, the JD(S) has far more voters in Bangalore Rural than in Chikkaballapur, although it has a slightly larger vote share in the latter.
In 2009, when he contested from Bangalore Rural parliamentary constituency, he polled 4.43 lakh votes, while in the by-election to the same seat, his wife Anitha secured 4.41 lakh votes. This shows that there was no erosion in the party’s vote base. But the BJP had not fielded a candidate, which helped the Congress to consolidate its base.
Kumaraswamy is, however, taking a gamble on the support of certain financially sound leaders in Chikkaballapur. He is mainly banking on the support of film producer C R Manohar and Jaipal Reddy.
Manohar, a businessman, had unsuccessfully contested the Assembly elections. Kumaraswamy is likely to file the nomination paper on March 26. At the most, he may tour the constituency for a couple of days.
Apart from the two JD(S) MLAs, there are four Congress and one Independent MLA. The Independent MLA is rumoured to be joining the Congress soon.
Going by the vote share in 2013, the JD(S) cannot rely on Hoskote, Gauribidanur, Bagepalli and Doddaballapur seats where its vote share ranged from single digit to a maximum of 23.35 per cent. It, however, did well in Devanahalli (45.80 pc) and Nelamangala (43.31 pc).
There are 16 lakh voters in the constituency, mainly OBCs and ST/STs. Vokkaliga voters are not more than two lakh. So Kumaraswamy and B N Bachegowda, the BJP nominee, would be vying for Vokkaligas votes. As for seven out of the eight constituencies in Bangalore Rural, the JD(S) has had a consistent voter share of 25-30 per cent.
The people of Chikkaballapur may not have shown any special liking to the JD(S) so far, but they do acknowledge Kumaraswamy’s work as the chief minister during 2006-07 when Chikkaballapur was made a district.
He also promised a permanent water supply scheme for the district. He has now less than 20 days to convince them to elect him this time. The constituency had stood by Union minister M Veerappa Moily in 2009 when it did no caste calculations.