There seems to be an exodus of Congress leaders, who could not make the Legislative Assembly for many years, to Bangalore seeking “safe” constituencies to contest the coming elections on May 5 making use of the pro-Congress wave across the State and anti-incumbency factor against the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Leading the stalwarts is the former president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee Allum Veerabhadrappa, a Lingayat, who has applied for a ticket to contest from Rajajinagar where the Karnataka Janata Paksha leader and former Minister Shobha Karandlaje is trying her luck leaving Yeshwantpur constituency. According to sources in the party, Mr. Veerabhadrappa had left his Bellary district, unable to bear the heat generated by the mining barons, especially the Reddy brothers.

B.L. Shankar, a former Chairman of the Legislative Council and KPCC vice-president, hailing from Sringeri, is eyeing Hebbal from where his party colleague H.M. Revanna lost to the BJP with a slender margin in 2008.

The former Kanakapura Lok Sabha member Tejswini Gowda has sought ticket to enter the Assembly from Bangalore South, but the party units in BBMP and Bangalore District are opposing her, possibly under pressure from her bête noire former minister and MLA D.K. Shivakumar.

Interestingly, it was Ms. Gowda had reportedly helped a couple of party workers get ticket in the last elections from the city. The sources said that she may succeed this time also, thanks to her capacity of convincing party seniors such as Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. It was Mr. Shivakumar, who got her fielded in Kanakapura against the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda successfully is another matter.

There is a long history of Bangaloreans favouring “migrants” when they were elected to the Assembly. It started with the former Chief Minister Ramakrishna Hegde, a native of Uttara Kannada district got elected from Kanakapura, sidelining the household name of T.R. Shamanna. Rank outsiders such as H.N. Nanje Gowda, hailing from Hasann district, got elected from the same constituency on BJP ticket in the past and Arvind Limbavali of Bagalkot district and Shobha Karandlaje of Dakshina Kannada districts were also elected in 2008.

The scenario in Mandya district is getting curious. The former Union Minister and actor Ambareesh, who lost in Srirangapatna is now switching over to Mandya, the hotbed of the recent Cauvery agitation. In the process, he is sidelining another former minister M.S. Atmananda, who has been nursing the constituency by aligning with the agitation leader G. Made Gowda.

According to a former Mayor of Bangalore, the leaders are shifting to Bangalore and other safe constituencies, because they could not test their luck again in their home district or neighbouring places, as people/party workers had started resenting them. Since Bangalore is cosmopolitan, it is easy and safe for them to get both the ticket and even win, thanks to the growing pro-Congress wave.

A former Congress Working Committee member and MLC Motamma has applied for ticket from Sakleshpur and former Director-General and Inspector-General of Police Shankar Bidari is interested in Terdal in Bagalkot district inconveniencing actor Umashree. Party insiders said that in some constituencies, the local workers are divided over the ticket-seekers or opposing new faces.

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