Triangular fight in the offing in MCC by-election

Cong faces stiff challenge as 'rebel' Ashwini takes a plunge

Rebellion in the Congress party, seems to have become the order of the day, especially in Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s home district.

With the party decideing to field Manjunath from the ward number 58 of the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) in the by-election scheduled for July 10, Ashwini, wife of the late R Ananthu, following whose death the by-election is being held, has decided to contest as a rebel candidate. Wednesday was the last day to file the nominations and Manjunath has submitted his B form.

Ward 58, includes Raghavendra Nagar and the areas around Kendriya Vidyalaya, falls under Narasimharaja Assembly constituency, represented by Primary and Secondary Education Minister Tanveer Sait. Earlier, it was called ward number 57 and was represented by former mayor H N Srikantaiah.

When it was changed as Ward number 59, Srikantaiah’s wife H M Shanthakumari represented it and also served as deputy mayor for a term. During the last term of the MCC, it became ward number 58 and was represented by R Ananthu as an Independent. In 2013, he was elected as a Congress candidate.

Since the MCC election in 2013, this is the second by-election. Following the resignation of Manjula Manasa from ward number 15, following her appointment as the Chairperson of the Karnataka State Women’s Commission, a by-election was held earlier. The BJP wrested the ward from the Congress. The membership of C Madesh, representing ward number 32, who has been convicted in a murder case, is likely to be cancelled. So, a third by-election is supposed to be held shortly.

Ward number 58 has 6,101 voters and almost 40% of them are Muslims. Even though Ananthu was the Corporator, Manjunath was close to Sait and claims credit for various works executed in the area with the MLA’s constituency development funds. He was also an aspirant for the Congress ticket in 2013 election. Shanthakumari was also an aspirant in both 2013 and now.

The BJP has little hold on the ward and the fight is direct between the Congress and the JD(S). Now, with Ashwini’s rebellion from the Congress, the fight has turned triangular. She is banking on sympathy vote and is sure to dent the prospectus of the Congress.

G Manju, the contractor of Dasara exhibition, is the JD(S) candidate and the B form was issued to him on Wednesday. The JD(S) had also planned to woo Ashwini in case the Congress declined to issue her the B form. However, as the Congress delayed a decision on issuing the B form, the process did not take off. In fact, Ashwini is a close relative of Melkote MLA K S Puttanaiah.

The BJP has fielded Suresh Raju. The SDPI, which is gaining popularity among Muslims, of late, has fielded Amjad Khan. It is interesting to see, which party loses its votes to the SDPI.
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