Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday said he would contest in the May 12 assembly election from the Chamundeshwari constituency in Mysuru.
"I will contest from Chamundeshwari seat on a Congress ticket and win with the blessings of the people as I had in the past," Siddaramaiah told reporters, accepting the challenge of JD(S) state President HD Kumaraswamy, who dared him to do so on Wednesday.
Though the 69-year-old veteran leader contested from the same seat seven times since 1983 and won five times, he was re-elected from Varuna in this district in the 2013 assembly poll.
"I have full faith and belief in my voters. They will not listen to him (Kumaraswamy) or will they let me down. If he has guts, let him also contest from here. Will see whom the people will elect," he said.
Kumaraswamy told reporters sarcastically that he would return to Chamundeshwari after the poll results to give his reaction to the "defeat" of Siddaramaiah by the electorate.
The Chief Minister plans to field his eldest son Yatindra from Varuna, which is also his home town, if he contests from Chamundeshwari.
Prior to this announcement, Siddaramaiah had come down heavily on HDK by saying, "“Does JD(S) President Kumaraswamy know how many times I have won from Chamundeshwari constituency? I have contested from Chamundeshwari seven times and won five times. Does he not know that? Should I learn from Kumaraswamy?”
Significance of Chamundeshwari constituency
Siddaramaiah first contested from the Chamundeshwari constituency in Mysuru district in 1983 as an independent. Since then he has contested from the seat on six other occasions, losing only twice – in 1989 when he was the Janata Dal candidate and in 1999 when he stood on a JD(S) ticket.
In 2006, Siddaramaiah resigned as Chamundeshwari MLA after being expelled by the JD(S) following differences with party leader and former Prime Minister Deve Gowda. His resignation forced a bye-election, which he then went on to win on a Congress ticket, albeit by a wafer-thin margin of 257 votes.
After the delimitation in 2008, most of the villages, which formed Siddaramaiah’s support base, were shifted to the Varuna constituency. It was then that Siddaramaiah switched to the Varuna constituency, which he went on to win in the 2008 and 2013 Assembly Elections.
Speculation was rife that the Chief Minister may vacate the Varuna seat to make way for his son Dr Yathindra, while Siddaramaiah will return to Chamundeshwari. Sources say that if the Chief Minister decides to contest from Chamundeshwari, the odds are against him.
(With IANS inputs)