Disgruntled leaders of other parties are being wooed
The old adage — In politics, there are no permanent friends or foes — is perhaps nowhere more apparent than in Bangalore Rural constituency, which goes to Lok Sabha bypolls on August 21.
Janata Dal (Secular) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda may not want to acknowledge the “understanding” reached by the party’s State president H.D. Kumaraswamy with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP). However, that the three Opposition parties are putting up a united fight in a bid to humble the Congress in the Lok Sabha byelections is no longer just speculation.
The Congress has also taken this constituency very seriously and is leaving no stone unturned for a win. The Congress government has deployed a battery of Cabinet Ministers and legislators to woo the voter.
Interestingly, even as it appears that KJP president B.S. Yeddyurappa has almost joined hands with the BJP and his bonhomie with his former foe JD(S) State president Kumaraswamy is apparent, D.K. Shivakumar, Congress leader and brother of Congress candidate D.K. Suresh, approached Mr. Yeddyurappa and sought his support. He also met Samajwadi Party leader C.P. Yogeshwar, who was earlier denied ticket by the Congress in the Assembly elections. Mr. Yogeshwar, who is in Lucknow, said he would take a decision after consulting with SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav after August 15.
Both Congress and the “united” combine are wooing every disgruntled leader from other parties into their fold. Congress has succeeded in snatching the former MLA from Rajarajeswarinagar, M. Srinivas, who enjoys some influence in Bangalore Rural district. Meanwhile, Mr. Deve Gowda is wooing those in other political parties, who were with the JD(S) earlier.
The bypolls represents high drama akin to that of the 2002 bypolls to the then Kanakapura constituency, where Mr. Shivakumar lost to Mr. Deve Gowda in a bitterly fought election.
This poll is being construed as a proxy battle between Mr. Kumaraswamy and his arch-rival Mr. Shivakumar. This time, Anita Kumaraswamy, wife of JD(S) State president, is challenging his brother, Mr. Suresh. While it is a prestige issue for Mr. Kumaraswamy to wrest the constituency earlier represented by him, it is a litmus test for Mr. Shivakumar, who could not make it to Siddaramaiah’s Cabinet. This is his chance to show his mettle.