MLC polls: Triangular fight on cards in South Teachers’ seat

MLC polls: Triangular fight on cards in South Teachers’ seat


A triangular fight between Deputy Chairman of the Council and three-time MLC Marithibbegowda (JD-S), M Lakshmana (Congress) and B Niranjan Murthy (BJP) seems to be on the cards in the biennial polls to the Legislative Council from the South Teachers constituency, scheduled for June 8.

A total of nine candidates, including independents are in the fray in the constituency with 20,678 voters, from Mysuru, Mandya, Hassan and Chamarajanagar districts. Despite the coalition between the JD(S) and the Congress to form the state government, candidates of both the parties are in the fray as their candidature was announced much earlier to the Assembly polls. Hence, the BJP is trying to consolidate both anti-Congress and anti-JD(S) votes. Lakshmana of the Congress has been repeatedly uttering that the JD(S)-Congress coalition is limited to the formation of the government and it has nothing to do with the Council election.

The reopening of the schools and other educational institutions has helped the candidates to meet the teachers to seek their votes. The number of voters registered in Mysuru district is the highest, around 9,000, followed by Mandya around 4,800, Hassan nearly 4,300 and Chamarajanagar approximately 1,900.

Pointing out that the Congress government did not appoint the vice chancellor to the University of Mysore, since almost one-and-a-half years, after K S Rangappa demitted office, Niranjan Murthy of the BJP has been canvassing that he will see to it that the VC will be appointed.

“I have been winning the polls in this constituency since 18 years. I understand the problems of the teaching community better. I have worked under various governments. With the experience over the years, I will strive for the welfare of both teachers and students in the academic sector,” says Marithibbegowda.

Marithibbegowda, a native of Anche Doddi in Malavalli taluk, started his career as a Syndicate member of the University of Mysore from the general category twice, from 1993 to 1999. Basically, a Congman, his maiden victory from the constituency in 2000 was on Congress ticket. By 2006 polls, he had identified himself with then chief minister H D Kumaraswamy. But, the JD(S) ticket was bagged by retired DDPI P Sharadamma. So, he won the poll as an Independent, but later on, he identified himself with the JD(S). In the 2012 polls, he won as a JD(S) candidate and went on to become the deputy chairman of the Council.

For Lakshmana, it is the third election to the Council and the second one from the constituency, the first one being in 2012. He is yet to taste a victory. Lakshmana had contested from the South Graduates constituency in 2010 and 2016 as Independent. Even though he had joined the Congress by the 2012 polls, he was again Independent as the Congress ticket was issued to the president of Karnataka chapter of Indian Medical Association Dr H N Ravindra. Earlier, Lakshmana had also contested as an Independent from the Chamaraja Assembly constituency, in 2008.

In the last three polls, 2000, 2006 and 2012, the BJP had unsuccessfully fielded S M Gurunanjaiah. The present BJP candidate Niranjan Kumar is new to elections. He is an assistant professor in the JSS group of institutions.

All three candidates have their own reasons to claim that they will win. Marithibbegowda banks on his experience over the years and the fact that JD(S) leader Kumaraswamy is the chief minister. Lakshmana claims that the Congress being a coalition partner, in the state government, will help him. Niranjan Murthy says, as BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa was denied an opportunity to become chief minister, he can bank on the sympathy wave.

The other contestants are A H Gopalakrishna, D K Thulasappa, SBM Prasanna, Dr Mahadeva, M N Ravishankar and P A Sharath Raj.

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