Chamundeshwari: home truths, foes within and outside make CM edgy

Chamundeshwari: home truths, foes within and outside make CM edgy

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah seems to have turned jittery in the past one week. For, his decision to contest the May 12 Assembly elections from Chamundeshwari constituency has landed him in a predicament.

After planning to vacate his Varuna seat for his son Dr Yathindra, Siddaramaiah decided to contest the polls from Chamundeshwari from where he had won five times since 1983. He had hoped that this would be a safe seat for him.

However, after touring the constituency over the past one week and holding closed-door meetings with his trusted people, it has apparently become evident for the chief minister that Chamundeshwari has witnessed a sea change since he shifted to the Varuna constituency in 2008.

There has been widespread urbanisation as the villages in the constituency are not far from Mysuru city. Due to the growth of residential areas in these villages, the economic condition of the villages has improved and locals have seen big money. Many people from the city have bought plots and built houses in these villages and this has changed the poltical landscape too. Besides, the natives feel that Siddaramaiah did not do much for the development of the constituency, even though he represented it for five terms.

After delimitation in 2008, the caste and political equations in the Chamundeshwari segment have also changed drastically. Several areas where Siddaramaiah had good support are now part of the Varuna constituency that was created in 2008.

Also, Siddaramaiah's emergence as one of the top leaders in the Congress since he joined the party 12 years ago has earned him lot of political foes.

"Besides his adversaries in the Opposition parties, he is worried about the conspiracies by his own partymen. He has already sought re-election as chief minister. Even the Congress high command has almost endorsed it. Backtracking now (from facing polls in Chamundeshwari) would be risky," sources in the Congress said.

A KPCC office-bearer said Siddaramaiah's stature now is that of a 'local high command.' "But his command over the party itself is proving to be problematic for him. His neglect of the seniors in the party and treading his own path made him stronger. However, the resignation of V Srinivas Prasad from the party shook him. But, he consolidated his position with the party's win in the Nanjangud and Gundlupet bypolls. In the process, the number of his adversaries increased. Former minister A H Vishwanath was hurt and he joined the JD(S)."

As the plan to induct Chamundeshwari MLA G T Devegowda of JD(S) into the Congress, once a close confidant of Siddaramaiah, backfired, the Opposition became stronger in Mysuru district.

Within the Congress, he tried to patch up with seniors such as G Parameshwara, Mallikarjun Kharge and D K Shivakumar. However, these leaders, who think that their opportunity to become chief minister has been snatched by Siddaramaiah, are waiting for a chance.

"Now, the Congress leaders are confident of winning a majority. If the Congress forms the government, no one can stop Siddaramaiah from becoming chief minister again. So, the chief ministerial spirants in the party are a worried lot. Siddaramaiah camp fears that there might be a repeat of Koratagere in Chamundeshwari this time," said a source.

Parameshwara, a chief ministerial aspirant, lost the 2013 polls from Koratagere in Tumakuru district and it was said that conspiracy by some Congress leaders led to his shocking defeat.

 

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