Muniyappa battling anti-incumbency, his own party men

Muniyappa battling anti-incumbency, his own party men

Sitting MP K H Muniyappa of the Congress. DH file photo

During every Lok Sabha elections since 1996, it is quite common to hear people of Kolar saying that the going would be tough for the sitting MP K H Muniyappa of the Congress. And, 2019 elections are no different.

The senior most Lok Sabha member from south India, Muniyappa has managed to win seven elections in a row from 1991. And, the road is full of hurdles for the former Union minister as he aims for an eighth straight victory from this SC Reserved seat where he faces a young, energetic and resourceful opponent in S Muniswamy of BJP.

In an election devoid of major issues, Muniyappa is not only battling anti-incumbency but also severe rebellion within his own party. All most all the Congress MLAs from the constituency and a bunch of senior leaders had opposed his candidature. Now, many of them have joined hands with the BJP to unseat the Congress veteran.

To make the matters worse for Muniyappa, a section of the alliance partner JD(S) led by Kolar MLA K Sreenivasa Gowda is not working for him. In Mulbagal, the Independent MLA H Nagesh, former legislator Kottur G Manjunath as well as a big chunk of Congress and JD(S) men are openly supporting the BJP.

But Muniyappa is not much unnerved. He knows very well that “enemy’s enemy is my friend.” The great survivor has won over the rivals of his rivals from all the three parties, who are actively working for him.

For instance, Muniyappa is not getting much support from the followers of Srinivaspur MLA Ramesh Kumar, who is also the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. But, Kumar’s political bete noire and former MLA G K Venkatashiva Reddy (JD-S) has thrown his weight completely behind Muniyappa.

On the other, the BJP lacks a strong base in the constituency, particularly in Chintamani, Shidlaghatta and Kolar. It believes that the support of Muniyappa’s rivals and Modi wave will fetch them votes across the constituency.

The BJP is confident that it will secure a big margin in the Tamil-dominant KGF as it has the backing of AIADMK, in addition to its own strong network.

“People are angry with Muniyappa as he has not done much for Kolar’s development. He has failed to address the water woes of the parched region despite being minister and MP for almost 30 years. People are yearning for a change,” says the BJP candidate, who is a BBMP corporator from Kadugodi ward in Bengaluru.

When it comes to caste dynamics, both the candidates are from the Scheduled Castes. As Muniswamy is from the dominant SC (Right), the BJP camp feels this will give him an edge over Muniyappa who belongs to SC (Left). Besides the SCs, Vokkaligas and Muslim are also in big numbers in the constituency

“Actually, I don’t want to vote for Muniyappa as he has not done any thing for our area. At the same time, as a Muslim I will not vote for the BJP. If there was a JD(S) candidate, I would have preferred its nominee. Now, I have decided to back the Congress,” says Arif who runs a tea shop in Bangarpet, indicating how the nearly two lakh Muslim voters in the constituency might vote.