R. Krishna Kumar

40,000 voters in Kuvempunagar area have to vote for Krishnaraja segment

BJP has to deal with 25,000 new voters from Narasimharaja constituency

50 per cent of them belong to religious minorities

MYSORE: The redrawing of three urban Assembly segments in Mysore has neutralised the advantage the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) enjoyed in the Chamaraja constituency, which was earlier perceived to be “safe” for the party.

The party leadership is confronted by the impact of the delimitation exercise as a result of which nearly 40,000 urban voters in Kuvempunagar area are now in the Krishnaraja (K.R.) segment.

With this, a sizeable chunk of the BJP’s vote bank will exercise their franchise to elect an MLA from the K.R. constituency which is reckoned to be “safe” from the party’s point of view despite suffering a setback in the 2004 Assembly elections.

The BJPis also faced with the prospects of dealing with nearly 25,000 new voters from the Narasimharaja (N.R.) constituency, who are not reckoned to favour the party.

Nearly 50 per cent of the 25,000 new voters belong to religious minorities while the rest constitute the Dalits and Other Backward Classes people who have either supported the Congress or the Janata Dal (Secular) in the past. After the delimitation the number of voters has increased from 1,42,961 to 2,03,558 in Chamaraja segment and from 1,02,826 to 2,01,817 in Krishnaraja constituency.

It is significant to note that the Chamaraja constituency has continuously returned the BJP candidate H.S. Shankarlinge Gowda thrice — in 1994, 1999 and 2004 Assembly elections. The BJP had polled more than 50 per cent of the total number of votes cast in that constituency during the elections while the nearest rivals from the Congress and the Janata Dal (S) managed between 30 per cent and 20 per cent of the total votes cast in the three elections. But the equations have considerably altered after the redrawing of boundaries.

Delimitation has upset the calculations of the party which fancied bagging at least two seats from Mysore urban.

If the redrawn constituencies are taken into account, the BJP has mustered 11 council seats from the K.R. Assembly segment in the elections held to the local urban bodies in September, five council seats from Chamaraja segment and one from the N.R. segment while one candidate was elected from the present Chamundeshwari Assembly segment.

The delimitation process has also put paid to political aspirations of the former MLA E. Marutirao Pawar who was elected from the N.R. constituency in 1994.

He subsequently hobnobbed with the Janata Dal (S) only to re-enter the BJP along with G.T. Deve Gowda. But Mr. Pawar has ruled himself out as he does not fancy BJP’s chance in the N.R. constituency any more.

Sources in the BJP admitted that the party high command had cleared the names of Shankarlinge Gowda and A. Ramdas as its official candidates from the Chamaraja and Krishnaraja constituencies respectively. However, they said there was an undercurrent of opposition towards them among the party workers who were peeved by their perceived “haughtiness”.

Efforts were made to prop up the names of T.S. Srivatsa for the K.R. constituency and L. Nagendra for the Chamaraja constituency. But the party workers have agreed to sink their differences and work for the official candidates.