The Janata Dal(S) is scrambling for a formidable candidate to contest from Chikkaballapur not only to take on sitting MP and Union Minister M Veerappa Moily but also to ensure that B N Bache Gowda, its former member, does not win as the BJP candidate from the constituency.
The party is confident of outsmarting its rivals but the Deve Gowda family is said to be in a fix over the right candidate. With Anitha Kumaraswamy likely to drop out of the race, the pressure is now on former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy to contest from Moily’s home turf.
With odds stacked against Moily, the JD(S) sees Chikkaballapur as a safe seat. The name of businessman Srinivas Murthy, son-in-law of late industrialist D K Adikeshavalu, is making rounds for the seat. Rebel Congress leader Jaffer Sharief is also looking at Chikkaballapur.
Party workers, however, opine that a member of Deve Gowda family would be a better bet. While there was much talk of the possibility of Anitha contesting from Chikkaballapur, sources said repeated defeats have made her develop cold feet though health reasons were cited for her reluctance.
Kumaraswamy said, “While there is a lot of pressure on me to contest from the constituency, it will be difficult to explain the move to the people of Bangalore Rural, which is my home turf. I have not yet taken a firm decision in this regard.”
It is said that the party may even consider Kumaraswamy’s son, Nikhil Gowda, if both his mother and father decide not to contest from Chikkaballapur. Party sources said the decision to field a member of Deve Gowda family was based on the calculation that almost all the eight Assembly segments will contribute a sizeable vote share for the JD(S).