Five former chief ministers are testing their fortunes in the Lok Sabha elections this time. All of them have begun campaigning in earnest, indicating that none of them can be sure of filing the nomination papers and forgetting the rest.
The Congress has fielded two of its former chief ministers – M Veerappa Moily and N Dharam Singh, while the BJP has fielded an equal number in B S Yeddyurappa and D V Sadananda Gowda. H D Deve Gowda, JD(S) national president, former chief minister and former prime minister, looks formidable in his home district Hassan.
The 74-year-old Moily is going all out to retain the Chikkaballapur seat. Being a native of Moodabidri in the coastal district of Dakshina Kannada, he had never contested outside Karkala (Udupi district) in the Assembly elections. But after the denial of ticket for the Dakshina Kannada seat by the Congress, he trusted the people of Chikkaballapur in 2009. His calculations did not go wrong. Moily is contesting from the constituency again and faces BJP nominee and former minister B N Bachegowda. The JD(S) is yet to decide its candidate here.
N Dharam Singh, former chief minister and Bidar MP, did not have much difficulty in getting the ticket.
The 77-year-old leader ensured that his name appeared in the first list. Former MLA Bandeppa Kashempur is the JD(S) candidate here, while the BJP is yet to announce its candidate. A native of Gulbarga, Singh had served as the chief minister in the Congress-JD(S) coalition government during 2004 to 06.
Yeddyurappa is contesting the parliamentary elections for the first time. No doubt, Shimoga is his bastion. But it is not going to be easy for the 71-year-old BJP strongman as the JD(S) is fielding Geetha, the daughter of former chief minister S Bangarappa and wife of film star Shivrajkumar, here. The Congress candidate is Manjunath Bhandary, a businessman.
Sadananda Gowda is another former chief minister from the coastal belt who is contesting from outside his home turf. He intensely lobbied for the BJP ticket from Bangalore North and succeeded. In the process, he dislodged sitting MP D B Chandre Gowda.
The 60-year-old Sadananda Gowda has locked horns with C Narayanaswamy of the Congress. Narayanaswamy, a former Janata Parivar leader, has been selected in the primary. The JD(S) is still looking for a candidate here.
In Hassan, 80-year-old Deve Gowda is up against A Manju, a sitting Congress MLA. It will be a hat-trick by Gowda if he retains the seat.
One-time associates of Deve Gowda, C S Putte Gowda, H K Javare Gowda and H M Vishwanath, have aligned with the Congress candidate to ensure that the dominance of the JD(S) ends in the district. The BJP may field Navile Annappa, an advocate, here.