Pramod Mellegati

R.K. Siddharamanna, Mahima Patel are known for their clean image

Both candidates are young and come from political families

They represent political parties that their fathers had denounced

SHIMOGA: By any reckoning it is a straight fight in the elections to the Legislative Council from the Shimoga District Local Bodies Constituency, which goes to the polls on December 18, though it is a matter of prestige for the BJP to wrest the seat from the Congress in Shimoga.

What has made the contest more interesting is the presence of R.K. Siddharamanna and Mahima Patel as the candidates in the elections contesting on BJP and Congress ticket respectively as both are known for their “clean” image.

There is a commonality between them in more than one way.

Both are young coming from political backgrounds. Mr. Patel is the son of the former Chief Minister late J.H. Patel while Mr. Siddharamanna is the son of the veteran Congress leader late Kalyankar.

What has come as a surprise is that both the candidates represent the parties which their fathers had denounced openly.

Mr. Siddharamanna, who is a committed BJP worker, has occupied several positions in the party and served as president of the city municipal council.

He exudes confidence of winning the elections. His candidature came as a big surprise particularly when the big wigs in the party were putting in serious efforts for ticket.

Similarly, Mr. Patel, who had identified himself with the Janata Dal(S), had served as the Government’s Representative in New Delhi during the BJP-Janata Dal(S) coalition Government.

He is contesting as the Congress candidate with Janata Dal(S) support. Mr. Patel, who swears by honesty and integrity in public life, has also taken up a campaign against corruption.

The campaign by both candidates went on briskly with both of them claiming victory to themselves.

However, it is difficult to hazard any guess on the outcome of the elections going by the fact that the gram panchayat members who are elected on non-party lines hold the key as they form a major chunk of voters.

There were anxious moments in the BJP when former MLA Shantaveerappa Gowda filed his nomination papers without the party’s consent. Though he withdrew from the contest, he announced that he would not work for the party’s candidate.

There was no such embarrassing situation in the Congress as well as the Janata Dal(S) which are working unitedly for the success of Mr. Patel.

There are 4,475 voters in the constituency which comprises seven taluks of Shimoga district and two, Honnali and Channagiri, in Davangere district.