JD(S) rebel turns contest 4-cornered in Chamaraja

JD(S) rebel turns contest 4-cornered in Chamaraja

Independent candidate K Harish Gowda from Chamaraja Assembly Constituency along with supporters take out door to door campaigning, at KG Koppal in Mysuru. DH photo

In Chamaraja Assembly constituency, the youngest among the three city constituencies, besides sitting MLA Vasu, JD(S) nominee former VC K S Rangappa and BJP candidate and former MUDA chairman L Nagendra, rebel JD(S) contestant K Harish Gowda is a serious contender.

There are a total of 14 candidates, including Malavika Gubbivani of the Aam Admi Party. All four prominent contestants belong to the Vokkaliga community.

Among the three constituencies in the city — Krishnaraja (KR), Narasimharaja (NR) and Chamaraja (CR), all named after the scions of the Yadu dynasty — CR was formed in 1978, while the remaining two exist since the first general elections in 1952, with some modifications in the 2008 delimitation.

CR is unique in having sent only Vokkaliga representatives to the Assembly, so far. Thus, it is deemed to be an undeclared Vokkaliga reserved constituency. Out of the total 11 elections, held so far, the Congress has won only thrice. The BJP succeeded in registering a victory in 1994, through H S Shankaralinge Gowda, a rebel from the Janata Parivar, since its split in 1989. He was a rebel (Independent) Janata Parivar candidate in 1989 also. The BJP managed to hold the constituency up to 2013 with four continuous victories for Shankaralinge Gowda — for 19 years. Shankaralinge Gowda (29,015) lost to Vasu (41,930) of the Congress in 2013 as a JD(S) candidate. The Janata Parivar has not won since the split in 1989, though the Janata Party had won four elections earlier.

The constituency has 2,35,647 voters — 1,18,070 men, 1,17, 552 women and 25 others. Out of the 65 wards of the Mysuru City Corporation, 24 Wards come under Chamaraja constituency, where the Congress and the JD(S) have won in nine wards each, followed by BJP two, SDPI one and three Independents. In a total of 11 polls, including two by-elections, both the BJP and the Janata Parivar have won four elections each, while the Congress has won three polls.

Sitting MLA Vasu is a close confidant of former chief minister M Veerappa Moily, and thus, he managed to get the Congress ticket despite resistance by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. MUDA Chairman D Dhruvakumar, a close confidant of Siddaramaiah was a keen aspirant. Vasu is banking on consolidation of the OBC and minority community votes besides the traditional Congress votes. However, there is a fear of Dhruvakumar, a leader of the Yadava community, working against Vasu.

Nagendra, who was the BJP candidate in the 2013 polls had emerged third with 26,168 votes. Aruna Gowda of the KJP had polled 4,399 votes. He is banking on the traditional BJP votes and has his own network. Besides those who have identified with the BJP since a few years, new entrants like former MUDA chairman C Basavegowda and ex-MLC D Madegowda were the aspirants for the BJP ticket. It is learnt that city BJP president Dr B H Manjunath was the choice till the last moment, but, it swung in favour of Nagendra in the last moment. District Raitha Morcha president Prasanna N Gowda was another aspirant. So, Nagendra has a lot of challenges within the party.

The JD(S), which has fielded former VC Rangappa, is facing rebellion as Harish Gowda is in the fray as an Independent. With an alliance with the BSP, Rangappa is banking on consolidation of the traditional JD(S) votes and also the Dalit votes. Rangappa was the VC of both University of Mysore and Karnataka State Open University. However, Harish cannot be neglected. A former employee of the University of Mysore, he quit his job for politics. He has been organising the party in the constituency, which had lost ground since the defeat in the 1989 polls.

It is rumoured that while Dhruvakumar would support Rangappa and Harish may back Nagendra, giving way for a different kind or arithmetics. According to an estimate, there are 60,000 Vokkaligas, 30,000 Dalits, 22,000 Muslims, 18,000 Lingayats, 17,000 Kurubas, 11,000 STs, 10,000 Brahmins, 7,000 Christians and others.

MLAs till date

The MLAs who have represented the Chamaraja constituency so far are: L Puttaswamy (1978, Janata Party), B N Kengegowda (1978 by-election, Congress), H Kempegowda (1983, Janata Party), Kempiregowda (1985, Janata Party), P M Chikkaboraiah (1986 by-election, Janata Party), K Harsha Kumar Gowda (1989, Congress), H S Shankaralinge Gowda (1994, 1999, 2004 and 2008, BJP) and Vasu (2013, Congress).