Internal surveys commissioned by the Congress, however, state that Siddaramaiah is likely to lose if he contests from Chamundeshwari.

The Chamundeshwari challenge Why Siddaramaiah wants to return to this Mysuru seat
news Karnataka 2018 Tuesday, April 03, 2018 - 15:35

Chamundeshwari in Mysuru can possibly make or break Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s political aspirations.

But the Assembly constituency, which contributed to Siddaramaiah’s rise in Karnataka politics may not be so kind this time around, Congress insiders say.

According to an internal survey commissioned by the Congress, Siddaramaiah is likely to lose if he contests from Chamundeshwari. The Chief Minister too had commissioned surveys in various constituencies other that Chamundeshwari to look at his prospects. The surveys predicted a win for the CM in Basavakalyana constituency in Bidar and also the Narasimharaja constituency in Mysuru.

But party insiders say Siddaramaiah cannot contest from Narasimharaja constituency because Congress leader and Primary and Secondary Education Minister Tanveer Sait is set to contest from here. Basavakalyana, meanwhile, is also ruled out because it would mean moving out of Siddaramaiah’s home district of Mysuru.

In the 2013 Assembly Elections, Siddaramaiah had contested from the Varuna constituency. This time around, his son Yathindra is all set to make his electoral debut and contest from this area.

"Siddaramaiah knows that he may not be in such a powerful position again. So he wants his son to enter politics when he is in a position of power. That's why he has decided not to contest from Varuna this time," a Congress leader said.

So, why is Siddaramaiah insisting on contesting from Chamundeshwari constituency?

“Considering the political acumen of the BJP and JD(S) strategists, it would be safe to say that they cornered Siddaramaiah into contesting from Chamundeshwari. The political tone that was set included several challenges issued by Yeddyurappa and Kumaraswamy. This, for Siddaramaiah is not only a personal fight against JD(S) but could also determine whether he will remain a strong face in state politics,” a source close to Siddaramaiah said.

On the flipside, if Siddaramaiah moves away from Chamundeshwari constituency the morale of the party leaders and workers could take a huge blow.

“This is about the perception creation. After the turn of events over the past few months, if Siddaramaiah decides to contest from any other constituency but Chamundeshwari, it would mean that the strongest leader in the state Congress is apprehensive of winning, leading to suspicion whether other leaders will also face the same fate. He did not really have a choice in this matter,” the source added.

Siddaramaiah first contested and won as an independent candidate from Chamundeshwari constituency in the state Assembly Elections in 1983. In the 1985 polls Siddaramaiah contested from Chamundeshwari on a Janata New Party ticket. He lost the subsequent election in 1989.

By 1999, the Janata Dal had split and JD(S) was formed. Siddaramaiah won subsequent elections in 1994, 2004 and the bye-poll in 2006 from the Chamundeshwari constituency.

“This is where Siddaramaiah rose to become the face of politics in Mysuru,” the source said.

But his home constituency was not kind to him after the delimitation in 2004. Chamundeahwari constituency was split and most of Siddaramaiah’s voters went into the Varuna constituency.

This is not the first time CM Siddaramaiah has taken such a gamble by contesting in Chamundeshwari constituency.

“In 2006, Siddaramaiah, who was promised Chief Ministership decided to quit the party because Deve Gowda broke his word. He joined Congress and hence a bye-poll was held. There was a similar internal survey conducted back then which predicted that Siddaramaiah would lose. Back then it was about extremely influential leader, who was very close to JD(S) first family quitting the party. It was a matter of pride. Siddaramaiah took the risk and contested the bye-poll. He won by a margin of 257 votes. This time too, he expects something like that to happen,” the Congress source added.



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