Siddaramaiah's early campaign leaves Chamundeshwari voters confused

Siddaramaiah's early campaign leaves Chamundeshwari voters confused

Even as Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is busy campaigning in Chamundeshwari Assembly segment, the people of the constituency are under a state of confusion about his candidature.

The people feel that the CM launched his campaign much earlier, only to study the voters' mindset and to gauge the chances of winning in the segment, before taking a final call.

Siddaramaiah launched a five-day campaign in the constituency on March 29, two days after the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced the dates of the election. During his campaign, the CM suffered a few embarrassments as a few prominent local leaders denied their support.

Chamundeshwari segment, which approximately  has 2,89,111 voters - 1,46,593 men and 1,42,518 women -- is a Vokkaliga community dominated constituency, followed by Other Backward Classes (OBC), SC/STs and Kurubas. Even Lingayats are in significant numbers. The sitting MLA G T Devegowda, who was elected on a JD(S) ticket in 2013, belongs to the Vokkaliga community. A majority of the local bodies, like gram panchayat under the constituency, are with the JD(S).

Siddaramaiah faces severe opposition from Devegowda, former minister V Srinivas Prasad, a prominent Dalit leader, and A H Vishwanath of the JD(S), a Kuruba leader. The leaders are striving to ensure the defeat of Siddaramaiah. During his roadshows, the CM received a poor response in Vokkaliga dominated villages. He visited more than 50 villages till Monday.

A few villagers of Jayapur gram panchayat said that Siddaramaiah shifted to Varuna segment in 2008 and he was not in touch with the people of Chamundeshwari till the recent past.

"With the launch of an early campaign, the CM is studying the ground reality. Siddaramaiah's candidature will be confirmed only after completion of the nomination process. Siddaramaiah is a mass leader and he would have to tour the state. But, why did he launch a campaign in a hurry? We have a doubt about Siddaramaiah's candidature," a villager said.

However, Congress party sources claim that Siddaramaiah is holding the campaign much earlier as he has to tour across the state. "Siddaramaiah is the party's candidate from Chamundeshwari and there is no question stepping back," said a confidant of the CM.

During his campaign, the CM has been claiming that Chamundeshwari people gave him political rebirth. "I started politics from Chamundeshwari segment and I want to retire from here," Siddaramaiah says.

Siddaramaiah, for the first time, was elected to the Assembly in 1983 as an Independent from Chamundeshwari segment. In 2006, when the JD(S) expelled him, he joined Congress and won with a slender margin of 257 votes in the by-election, which he considered as his political rebirth. In 2008, when Varuna was carved out with parts of Mysuru, Nanjangud and T Narsipur taluks, he has been representing it.

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