It is a challenging task for the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal (Secular) to finalise their candidates for the Tumkur parliamentary constituency as there are candidates aplenty seeking ticket to contest the Lok Sabha elections.
Tumkur parliamentary constituency comprises eight Assembly segments and of them the Janata Dal(S) has an elected representative from Gubbi, Koratagere, Turuvekere and Chikkanayakanahalli, the ruling Congress from Tumkur city, Madhugiri and Tiptur, while the BJP has only one representative who was elected from Tumkur Rural constituency.
Since 1984, Lok Sabha member G.S. Basavaraj has won the seat four times, thrice on Congress ticket and on a BJP ticket in 2009. S. Mallikarjunaiah (BJP), a former Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha, won thrice from the constituency and the erstwhile Janata Dal represented the constituency once. As the Janata Dal(S) won four of the eight Assembly constituencies in the recent elections, it is confident of winning the Lok Sabha seat. State party president A. Krishnappa and district unit president M.R. Hulinayakar are lobbying for party ticket.
According to party sources, if the Congress and the BJP field candidates belonging to the Vokkaliga community, then the Janata Dal(S) may opt for a candidate belonging to other backward classes.
However, if the rival political parties field a non-Vokkaliga candidate, then the Janata Dal(S) may field the former MLA Anita Kumaraswamy or the former Minister Chennigappa.
In the case of Congress aspirants, there is an intra-party battle with Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs T.B. Jayachandra seeking ticket for his son, Santosh Jayachandra, and MLA from Madhugiri K.N. Rajanna trying to get his son, Rajendra, a chance.
The other Congressmen eyeing ticket are Muddahanume Gowda, Shafi Ahmed, R. Narayan and Satish Mallanna.
Mr. Shafi Ahmed, who is the district president of the Congress, said that they have made an appeal to KPCC president G. Parameshwara to contest but he has refused. He said that they would exert pressure on him (Dr. Parameshwara) and try to convince him of the need to contest from Tumkur parliamentary constituency.
Though the presence of the BJP in the Assembly from Tumkur has diminished, there are at least three contenders, including the incumbent MP (Mr. Basavaraj). The others are S. Shivanna and BJP State secretary M.B. Nandish.
All of them believe that the “Modi wave” will do them good at the hustings.
There is opposition to Mr. Basavaraj being given ticket as he had identified himself with the camp of the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and was even suspended from the party.