Naseer faces tough challenge in Council polls

Congress hit by factional rivalry, BJP yet to set up a base

 
While the ‘far-from-people’ image of sitting MLC Naseer Ahmed seems to have dented the prospects of Congress, the BJP is grappling with lack of organisational structure in the two districts.

The election fray presents the picture of the playground where the outcome of a game has already been determined. Congress and JD(S) have come together for the election which appears to be a cakewalk for both the parties. The polls are an occasion to test their luck for independents.

Sullen image

The sitting member Naseer Ahmed is exuding confidence of victory. He is contesting the election for the second time. The main charge against him is that he has stayed away from public after his election in the year 2003. The Congress and JD(S) workers are into campaigning with this accusation.

Congress has considerable presence in both the districts. The MPs - K H Muniyappa and M Veerappa Moily have even found a place in the Union cabinet as Minster of State for Railways and Minister for Law and Justice respectively. Four out of the five Assembly constituencies in Chikkaballapur district are represented by Congress legislators. The truck with JD(S) has further augmented its strength.

However, there is also a flip side. The Congress here is a divided house. There are more leaders here and the leadership of one is not acceptable to that of the other. The tussle between K H Muniyappa faction and the one opposed to him has reached a crescendo. In fact, it has also consumed the time meant for election meetings as well.

The in fighting in Congress has put its election partner, JD(S) in a fix. The JD(S) workers are realising the “dangers” that may be posed by the faction-ridden Congress and the dented image of the sitting MLC. As former speaker Ramesh Kumar remarked in an election meeting, “The victory of Naseer Ahmed is guaranteed if the Congressmen do not renege on their words.” Meanwhile, the JD(S) workers have declared that their loyalty is for Kumaraswamy and not for Naseer Ahmed. Amidst this cracklines, the JD(S) members have decided to vote for Naseer Ahmed.

Numerical strength

On the other hand, the BJP candidate Y Surendra Gowda of Mulbagal has the experience of serving as the district president of the party, before bifurcation of Kolar district.

The party, faced with lack of numerical strength and poor publicity is projecting the ‘far-from-people’ image of Naseer Ahmed as the main issue. Gowda though confidently says that he is in the threshold of victory, the party has a daunting task ahead. No candidate contested from BJP during the Council elections in 2003 and as such the party has to set up its base from scratch. The tough fight between these two has masked the contest of independent candidates, M D Shivananda, S G Narayanagowda and Venkata Reddy .

There are a total of 5,545 elected representatives in the two districts - two MPs 11 MLAs, four MLCs, 55 Zilla Panchayat members, 207 Taluk Panchayat members, 4,921 Gram Panchayat members and 350 members of urban local bodies.

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