Congress, JD(S) may battle it out in Mandya, Bangalore Rural; BJP facing an uphill task
The byelections to the two Lok Sabha seats in the State, Mandya and Bangalore Rural, are expected to be an intense electoral fight among the three major political parties as the results may set the trend for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
It is another matter that the three political parties — the Congress, the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Bharatiya Janata Party — are going through a tough time in identifying candidates, as the remaining term of membership of the Lower House of Parliament is very short. However, the three parties have commenced preparations for the byelections and have set in motion the initial task of short-listing some candidates.
While the byelections will be held on August 21, the last date for filing nomination papers is August 3.
Mandya constituency has been a Congress bastion for several terms of the Lok Sabha, although it was, for a brief period, with the Janata Dal when M.H. Ambareesh won on Janata Dal ticket in 1998 and Janata Dal (Secular) when N. Cheluvarayaswamy staged a victory in 2009.
The Congress, now ruling the State, is expected to make a serious bid to regain the seat, and with the two constituencies dominated by the members of the Vokkaliga community, it is but natural that the contesting candidates too will be from the same community.
And, the Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha constituency was newly carved out following the recommendations of the Delimitation Commission. The former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy was the first member to be elected from the constituency. A considerable part of this constituency is either part of Bangalore or adjoins it.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the Congress candidate, Mr. Ambareesh, who is now Minister for Housing in the Siddaramaiah Cabinet, lost the Mandya seat by a margin of over 24,000 votes to the Janata Dal(S) candidate Mr. Cheluvarayaswamy, while in the Bangalore Rural constituency, the Janata Dal(S) candidate, Mr. Kumaraswamy, now Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly, trounced C.P. Yogeshwara of the BJP by a margin of over 1.30 lakh votes.
The Assembly constituencies in Mandya are Malavalli, Maddur, Srirangapatna, Krishnarajanagar, Krishnarajapet, Melkote, Nagamangala and Mandya, while Bangalore Rural has Rajarajeshwarinagar, Channapatna, Ramanagaram, Magadi, Kanakapura, Anekal, Kunigal and Bangalore South Assembly segments.
In the recent Assembly elections, the Congress won three Assembly seats each in Mandya and Bangalore Rural, while the Janata Dal(S) won four and three seats, respectively.
The BJP does not have much of a presence in both the Lok Sabha constituencies and consequently, faces an uphill task.
The onus is on the Chief Minister and the president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (G. Parameshwara) to work out ways to send an adequate number of elected representatives to the Lok Sabha from Karnataka, similar to what has been achieved in the recent Assembly elections. Both of them are confident that the Congress will be successful in wresting the two seats, while the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and Mr. Kumaraswamy said that they will do their best to repeat what they achieved in 2009.