M.K. Vinod Kumar

CHIKMAGALUR: The stage is set for multi-cornered contests in all the five Assembly segments in Chikmagalur district. The district goes to polls on May 16.

The BJP, which won in Sringeri, Mudigere and Chikmagalur constituencies, comprising the malnad region of the district, during the previous election, will try to improve its tally. There has been some delay in selection of candidates by the Congress as well as the Janata Dal (S). Two Congress candidates and one Janata Dal (Secular) candidate have filed their nomination papers so far.

In Chikmagalur Assembly segment, former MLA C.T. Ravi of the BJP is pitted against S.L. Bhoje Gowda of the Janata Dal (Secular) and K.B. Mallikarjuna of the Congress. Mr. Bhoje Gowda is the president of Chikmagalur District Co-operative Central Bank Ltd. and former president of the Chikmagalur City Municipal Council.

His father S.R. Lakshmaiah was elected for three terms and his brother S.L. Dharme Gowda was elected for one term to the Legislative Assembly from Birur constituency. Mr. Mallikarjuna was the Chief Whip in the Legislative Council during the Janata Dal regime.

He later joined the Congress and was elected to the Legislative Assembly from Birur constituency, which has now been dismantled under the delimitation process.

In Kadur, K.M. Krishnamurthy, who won the previous three Assembly elections as the Janata Dal (Secular) candidate, will contest the election as a Congress candidate. A staunch follower of Siddaramaiah, he joined the Congress after falling out with the Janata Dal (S) leadership. He will be facing Y.C. Viswanath of the BJP who contested in 1999 and Y.S.V. Datta, MLC, of the Janata Dal (S).

In Mudigere, which is a reserve constituency, the former MLA M.P. Kumaraswamy of the BJP will face a stiff challenge from Sathi Sundaresh of the Communist Party of India (CPI) who unsuccessfully contested the previous election. The Congress has chosen B.N. Chandrappa, former president of LIDKAR, as its candidate. Mr. Chandrappa hails from Tarikere taluk.

In a surprise move, the former minister B.B. Ningaiah, who had announced that he has been selected as the Janata Dal (S) candidate at a press conference on Friday, has been sidelined. Kalaiah, a former employee of the DCC Bank has been given the B form. In Tarikere and Sringeri segments, the picture is not clear as the Congress and the Janata Dal (S) have not announced their candidates.

According to sources, the former Chairman of Legislative Council B.L. Shankar is likely to contest from Tarikere.