The Mysore-Kodagu Lok Sabha constituency, for long considered a citadel of the Congress, has seen a churning in recent elections. The electorate has not hesitated to turn their backs on the grand old party. Kodagu was hived off from Mangalore LS constituency and merged with Mysore after the delimitation exercise in 2007-08.
Today, the constituency is no longer perceived to be a “safe seat” for any political party as the margin of victory in the last three elections has been narrow. But the stakes are high for the Congress in the coming polls as it is also the home turf of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
While the Congress has announced that incumbent MPs are most likely to be issued ticket, there is a problem of plenty for the Bharatiya Janata Party and one of scarcity for the Janata Dal (Secular).
Sources in the Congress said party observers toured the constituency in December 2013 and again in January 2014 and there was near unanimity that the present MPs should be given ticket. So it most likely that A.H. Vishwanath will be the Congress candidate, who will seek a re-election from the constituency.
However, there is speculation that Mr. Vishwanath’s performance as an MP may present a setback to the party and a section of party workers are keen to rope in Pramoda Devi Wadiyar, wife of the last scion of the royal family and former MP late Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, to capitalise on the public sentiments towards the Wadiyars. Though she has ruled out joining politics, speculation continues.BJP list pruned
A senior party functionary in the BJP told The Hindu that there were initially at least 20 contenders and the list has since been pruned to three or four candidates. The names of the former Minister Shobha Karandlaje and the former Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda are making the rounds, while the other frontrunner is MLC C.H. Vijayshankar.
While caste is an important factor in selection of candidates, BJP workers perceive it will backfire if Mr. Vijayshankar, who belongs to the Kuruba community, is fielded. Since the community has identified itself with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who is also from the Kuruba community, the caste factor will be disadvantageous to Mr. Vijayshankar.Wait and watch
The JD(S) is yet to open its account in this constituency and the party is adopting a wait-and-watch policy to finalise the names. G.T. Deve Gowda, a senior JD(S) MLA, said there were no aspirants with an “acceptable face” as of now and the party may field a senior Lingayat leader who is at present with the BJP and may defect to the JD(S).