KOLAR: With only a couple of days left for the elections to the Legislative Council from local authorities constituencies, the candidates in the fray in Kolar-Chickaballapur seat are making all efforts to woo the voters.
While sitting MLC Nazir Ahmad is the joint nominee of the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular), Y. Surendra Gowda is the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate. Contesting as independents are G. Narayan Gowda, Venkata Reddy and M.D. Shivananda.
Though there are five candidates, it appears to be a straight contest between Mr. Nazir Ahmad and Mr. Surendra Gowda.
Most of the veteran leaders of the Congress, including Opposition leaders in both Houses, Siddaramiah and V.S. Ugrappa, Union Minister K.H. Muniyappa and the former Speaker K.R. Rameshkumar, have extensively toured Kolar and Chickaballapur districts to muster support for Mr. Ahmad. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) is also supporting the Congress-JD(S) nominee.
The rival candidate, Mr. Surendra Gowda, appears to be on weak ground as not many senior leaders have campaigned for him.
With most of the local bodies in both the districts controlled by the Congress and JD(S), Mr. Ahmad seems to enjoy the edge over the BJP, even though the latter is trying to capitalise its position as ruling party in the State. Mr. Surendra Gowda and other BJP leaders are appealing to the voters to support it for the development of the region.
Both Mr. Ahmad and Mr. Surendra Gowda are confident of winning the polls.
Interestingly, while the Congress and the JD(S) have come together to fight their “common enemy” the BJP, the Congress in the district still remains a divided house even on the eve of the Council polls. Two factions led by Mr. Muniyappa and former Agriculture Minister K. Srinivas Gowda are busy hurling insults at each other.
A reported statement by District Congress Committee president S.N. Bisse Gowda, who is a staunch supporter of Mr. Muniyappa, that the party does not require the support of Mr. Srinivas Gowda and Chintamani MLA M.C. Sudhakar has created quite a ruckus within the party. Mr. Srinivas Gowda has strongly condemned the statement saying that it amounts to acting against the prospects of the party candidate Mr. Ahmad in the polls.
Mr. Srinivas Gowda has accused Mr. Muniyappa of openly campaigning for Mr. Ahmad, but covertly supporting the BJP candidate.