Parameshwara confident as he warms up to Koratagere

Parameshwara confident as he warms up to Koratagere

JD(S) candidate Sudhakar Lal is seen seeking votes from the people of Kodagadala in Koratagere, Tumakuru district. DH PHOTO

Having missed the CM ‘gaddi’ once, KPCC president G Parameshwara is in no mood to repeat his past mistakes which might dent his political career yet again.

Still very much in the race for the coveted post, the 67-year-old, who is seeking re-election from Koratagere, seems to have pulled up his socks this time.

For Parameshwara, who carries an ‘elitist’ image, Koratagere was as an afterthought. He was hoping to contest the upcoming elections from one of the constituencies (Pulakeshinagar) in Bengaluru.

Having remained away for three years (ever since his shocking defeat in the previous elections), Parameshwara eventually started nurturing this reserved constituency.

The Congress leader, who began his political career from Madhugiri in 1989, is relatively new to Koratagere. He had moved to the constituency post delimitation in 2008.

Though he had bagged that election against JD(S)’s ‘Vaale’ Chandraiah, he was trounced by the regional party’s greenhorn P R Sudhakar Lal in 2013.

Despite this setback, Parameshwara was rewarded by the Congress, which made him an MLC and home minister. Even as he continues as the longest serving president (seven years) of his party’s state unit, the demand for a Dalit chief minister still resonates strong within the party. Which is why a win in Koratagere is crucial for Parameshwara.

When Koratagere goes to polls on May 12, it has to yet again choose between Parameshwara and Lal. The BJP, which is desperately trying to make its presence felt here, has fielded Y H Huchhaiah.

Traditionally a Congress bastion, voters of the segment slowly shifted their loyalty to the JD(S), by electing former minister C Chennigappa three times in a row (1994-2004).

Over the last six months, political equations in Koratagere have changed as Parameshwara has been camping here.

He is said to have amassed the goodwill of local JD(S) leaders in the constituency, following a tacit understanding with Chennigappa (party’s district unit president).

As part of the arrangement, the Congress is said to have fielded a ‘weak’ candidate in Tumkur Rural, to help Cheniggappa’s son D C Gowrishankar (JD-S), who is facing off BJP’s B Suresh Gowda.

While Madhugiri MLA K N Rajanna is helping him consolidate the Scheduled Tribes votes, Vaale Chandru, who has defected to the Congress, is helping him garner the Scheduled Castes votes.

Lal, on the other hand, is plagued by the anti-incumbency factor. He is also facing trouble within the party for neglecting Vokkaliga leaders.

Parameshwara says that people have shunned their anger against him, and have become more receptive of him.

“I kept away from Koratagere for three years (since losing elections in 2013) purposefully, because I wasn’t sure if I will contest from the segment again or not. But after I became home minister, I resolved the drinking water issue, sanctioned 5,500 houses, and helped set up a police training school and an Ekalavya school. I am sure to win this time,” he said.

Admitting it to be a tough contest, Lal, however, said that his connect with the people and the developmental works of around Rs 300 crore would translate into votes.

“Though I wanted to implement works to the tune of Rs 800 crore, I got no cooperation from government officials,” he added.