Bangalore, August 2;The bypoll to the Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha constituency is likely to see a high-decibel contest akin to the one witnessed during the byelection to the erstwhile Kanakapura constituency in 2002, which saw a fierce battle between former prime minister H D Deve Gowda of the JD(S) and the then Congress minister D K Shivakumar.
Post-delimitation, Kanakapura has been renamed Bangalore Rural and most areas of the erstwhile constituency are part of it. For the August 21 bypolls, Congress’ D K Suresh, younger brother of D K Shivakumar, will take on the JD(S) nominee Anitha Kumaraswamy, daughter-in-law of Deve Gowda.
Anitha and Suresh are likely to file their nomination papers on Saturday, the last day for submitting the papers. While winning the elections is a prestige for the ruling Congress, retaining the seat is important for the JD(S) ahead of the crucial 2014 general elections. The bypoll has been necessitated by the resignation of JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy.
For Shivakumar, who had lost the 2002 bypolls to Deve Gowda, ensuring the victory of his brother is important. For, the senior Congress MLA has been denied a berth in the Siddaramaiah cabinet. More than making it to the Cabinet, Shivakumar has prove to the party that he is a force to reckon with.
Both the parties have been knitting their own political alignments to face the polls. The JD(S) is learnt to have struck a deal with the BJP, which has decided not to field its candidate not only for Bangalore Rural but also in Mandya to help the JD(S). Accordingly, the JD(S) would support the BJP candidate in the upcoming byelections to three Legislative Council seats. Although, B Nagaraju, Ramanagar district BJP president, has filed his nomination papers, he is likely to withdraw them.
Shivakumar, on his part, met the Samajwadi Party state president and Channapatna MLA C P Yogeeshwara and sought his support for his brother.
The Mandya scenario
Till Friday evening, the Congress was undecided about its candidate for the Mandya seat, where the JD(S) is fielding former MLA C S Puttaraju, who filed his nomination papers on Friday. Farmers’ leader and former Mandya MP G Made Gowda turned down the Congress’ request to entry the fray despite both Siddaramaiah and Housing Minister Ambareesh speaking to him over phone. “I am too old to contest elections. I will not contest the bypoll. But, I will extend my support to any one who will be given the Congress ticket,” Made Gowda told reporters after a meeting with Ambareesh.
Former External Affairs minister S M Krishna, who was in Mandya, said the candidate will be finalised by the party high command. “Nobody’s name has been recommended. I do not know as to whose name will be finalised,” he stated.
The Congress leaders were closeted in Delhi till Friday evening to finalise the candidate for Mandya. Former legislators L R Shivarame Gowda and M S Atmananda are among many local leaders lobbying for the ticket.
It is said the party leaders were still trying to persuade Made Gowda to become the candidate.