Assembly Elections 2018: Looking for safe Constituency, will Siddharamaiah shift to Koppal…?

Does he think Chamundeshwari and Varuna unsafe?

CM’s contradictory statements about his place of contest lead to confusion; sources say he is looking for a safe constituency

Bengaluru/Mysuru: Will Chief Minister Siddharamaiah contest from Chamundeshwari in the forthcoming Assembly elections? Will he return to Varuna constituency? Or is he looking for another safe constituency fearing his political adversaries who have ganged up to defeat him in Chamundeshwari?

The CM had earlier announced that he would go back to Chamundeshwari paving way for his son Dr. Yathindra to contest from Varuna. At present, the CM represents Varuna constituency as MLA and he considers it a safe seat for his son to make an electoral debut. Dr. Yathindra has been preparing the grounds for his contest from the constituency, for close to a year now.

Congress sources, however, said that Siddharamaiah is still in two minds on contesting from Chamundeshwari. He recently said that he is undecided on his constituency and that the party men are mounting pressure on him to contest from any of the three constituencies in North Karnataka — Badami, Koppal and Bagalkot.

Sources also said that the CM might contest from Varuna as he feels that Chamundeshwari is unsafe. As if to prove this point, at the concluding day of the Annual Suttur Jathra yesterday, Siddharamaiah sought Suttur people’s blessings as Suttur comes under Varuna constituency.

“Suttur comes under the constituency I am planning to contest and by participating at the Suttur Jathra, I will gain personally. I have reached this position with your blessings and have performed well. In future too, I will work promptly,” he said. Siddharamaiah’s yesterday’s statement that indicates he will contest from Varuna has added to the confusion about the place he is contesting from.

At Chamundeshwari, the JD(S) has decided to renominate its sitting MLA G.T. Devegowda. Siddharamaiah’s friends-turned-foes — former Union Minister V. Sreenivasa Prasad and former MP A.H. Vishwanath, who are now in the BJP and the JD(S) respectively — have openly declared that they will work towards Siddharamaiah’s defeat.

Besides, the intelligence wing of the State Police is said have reported that Chamundeshwari will not be a safe seat for the CM to contest. The Congress has saddled him with the responsibility of leading the party campaign in the coming polls. So, he will be touring the State during the election, leaving very less time for his own campaign.

Badami, Bagalkot and Koppal constituencies have been shortlisted as alternative to Chamundeshwari. For, these constituencies are dominated by the Kuruba community, to which Siddharamaiah belongs. The sitting MLAs B.B. Chimmanakatti (Badami), H.Y. Meti (Bagalkot) and Raghavendra Hitnal (Koppal) are all Kurubas. This apart, Hebbal and Govindrajnagar constituencies in Bengaluru city, where Kurubas are in sizeable number, are also being considered for Siddharamaiah, sources said.

A CM shifting the constituency is nothing new in Karnataka politics. The late Ramakrishna Hegde, who used to contest from his home district of Uttara Kannada, had switched to Basavanagudi in Bengaluru in 1985 and won from there. Similarly, S.M. Krishna had shifted from Maddur in Mandya district to Chamarajpet in Bengaluru in 2004 and was elected to the Assembly.

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