Here is a district at the centre of the Cauvery water sharing dispute in Karnataka, the land where the JD(S) and Congress have fought to gain supremacy over each other in successive elections. This time around, the Congress is being cautious about the candidates it picks for Mandya district.
According to Congress insiders, the candidates for KR Pete and Maddur constituencies have not been finalised. However, senior party leaders are in talks with deceased farmer leader KS Puttanaiah’s son Darshan on the Melkotes seat
“The Congress is planning to not field any candidate from Melkote but instead back Darshan Puttanaiah who will be contesting from Swaraj India party. KS Puttanaiah was loved by the people of Mandya, it seems like the right choice to back his son,” the Congress source said.
Speaking to TNM, Darshan Puttanaiah confirmed that he had indeed held talks with the Congress but nothing had been finalised yet. Puttanaiah said that the grand old party had been holding talks with Swaraj India even when his father was alive.
KS Puttannaiah, MLA of the Karnataka Sarvodaya Party, who represented Melkote segment, died of a massive cardiac arrest in February 2018.
Stating that he had never thought of entering politics before, Darshan added that his primary focus would be on helping farmers, just like his father had.
“Over the past one year, I have worked actively with my father and I intended to join the activist movement that my father was deeply involved in. I had never though I would contest elections. When my father passed away, there was a lot of discussion about who should contest and the other leaders felt that I would be the right person. Even now, my focus will be on activism,” he added.
Darshan says that although he had been living in the United States for over 10 years now, he was always involved in the work his father carried out in Mandya district. Darshan says that he had always helped his father in his work for farmers by gathering information about new technologies in farming and helping curate the awareness programmes that were carried out in Mandya.
“I did not just jump into activism and politics suddenly. I always knew I would come back to India and get involved in what my father did. In fact, a year ago, I had decided to move back to India in May this year as my children would finish their school year. I have been in India half the time since the past one year and I have been familiarising myself with the people of Mandya,” he added.