Heavyweights in the race in the Congress bastion
A multi-cornered contest is on the cards in the Chickballapur Lok Sabha constituency, a traditional Congress bastion since 1977 (except in the 1996 election).
The Congress has cleared the name of the incumbent MP and Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas M. Veerappa Moily. To counter Mr. Moily, the Bharatiya Janata Party has decided to field the former Minister and political veteran B.N. Bache Gowda.
On the other hand, the Janata Dal (Secular) is said to have finalised the name of Anitha Kumaraswamy, wife of the former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy. Ms. Kumaraswamy unsuccessfully fought the byelection to the Lok Sabha from the Bangalore Rural constituency in 2013.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) is planning to field G.V. Srirama Reddy, who represented the Bagepalli Assembly constituency twice and got defeated in the 2013 elections. Mr. Reddy is said to have considerable following in three Assembly constituencies in the region. However, as both the JD(S) and the CPI(M) are part of the third political alternative, one has to see who will back out.
The Janata Dal (United) is planning to field G.K.C. Reddy. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is also planning to field a candidate to counter Mr. Moily.
Mr. Moily’s candidature as well as his victory in the 2009 election had surprised many as he was not from the region and did not belong to any dominant community. He won with a margin of nearly 51,000 votes defeating C. Aswathanarayana of the BJP. Mr. Bache Gowda, a strongman from Hoskote who was defeated in the 2013 Assembly elections, is from the dominant Vokkaliga community and the contest is likely to be stiff between these two political heavyweights. Mr. Gowda was a Minister in the erstwhile BJP government in the State.
Of the eight Assembly constituencies in the Chickballapur Lok Sabha constituency, four are held by Congress (Gauribidanur, Chickballapur, Hoskote and Doddaballapur), two by the JD(S) (Devanahalli and Nelamangala) and one each by the BJP (Yelahanka) and an Independent (Bagepalli).