An independent corporator from the city is contesting the Lok Sabha polls at far away Bellary (ST reserve) as a Janata Dal (secular) nominee. The elections in the State is slated on April 17.
R Ravindra Kumar, who represents ward 41 in Mysore City Corporation (MCC) is testing the political waters in bigger arena against BJP’s Sriramulu and Congress’ N Y Hanumanthappa who have been in politics for long. It is his second bigger attempt, after the previous Assembly elections. Ravindra had unsuccessfully contested against the sitting MLA and his one time mentor from Congress, Tanveer Sait, at Narasimharaja Assembly constituency in Mysore, on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa led All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) ticket. Ravindra had secured 1,001 votes, finishing sixth after the results were announced.
A liquor merchant by profession, Ravindra belongs to Nayaka community, which has sizeable numbers in Bellary. Of the total 14.5 lakh voters (the numbers may increase by another 80,000 following the inclusion of new voters), in Bellary, 3.5 lakh belong to Nayaka community alone.
Ravindra told Deccan Herald that he had been making preparations from the lone constituency reserved for STs in the State, for the past eight months. When all his efforts to get Congress ticket failed, he found solace in JD(S). Ravindra claims that he has gleaned as much information as possible about the burning issues in Bellary, the fiefdom of Sriramulu. “Though Tungabhadra dam has adequate water to cater to drinking and agrarian needs, not much has been done. I am a son of Mysore, and it gives me immense strength to contest against Sriramulu and Hanumanthappa, also a former judge.”
Earlier, Ramulu’s sister J Shantha represented Bellary in Lok Sabha. Interestingly, Ravindra made his debut in the by-elections to MCC in the year 2010, necessitated due to the cancellation of membership of the sitting corporator from BJP Narayanappa (due to submission of false caste certificate). Ravindra who had earlier worked as general secretary of Youth Congress, city wing had succeeded in getting the ticket. He also emerged victorious against BJP that finished second in the by-poll. However, owing to differences of opinion with Tanveer Sait, Ravindra was denied ticket for the following elections held in 2013. He contested as an Independent with the support of Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and was re-elected to the local body. It’s his third outing with a different party -- this time with the JD(S). SDPI is supporting JD(S) in the elections.“Till the polls are over, I will be residing in Vidyanagar in Bellar
y, which has become my second home after Alanahalli in Mysore,” says Ravindra.