Mysuru Lok Sabha constituency: It’s royalty versus loyal party worker in this city of palaces

April 11, 2024 07:17 pm | Updated April 14, 2024 12:49 pm IST - MYSURU

Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar, BJP candidate

Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar, BJP candidate | Photo Credit: File photo

After winning the Mysuru Lok Sabha constituency during the last two consecutive elections in 2014 and 2019, the BJP leadership decided against fielding its incumbent MP Prathap Simha and instead chose the scion of the erstwhile Mysuru royal family Yaduveer Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar as its candidate for the constituency in a surprise move.

Even though the exact reason for the BJP replacing Mr. Simha, a Vokkaliga, with Mr. Yaduveer has not been made public, the Congress party, which had been considering a proposal to field a person belonging to the dominant Vokkaliga community in the constituency, opted for M. Lakshman, familiar to the people of Mysuru first as a social activist and later as a Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) spokesperson.

Return of ‘royalty’

Mr. Yaduveer’s entry into the poll fray also marks the erstwhile royal family of Mysuru’s return to electoral politics after a gap of two decades. Late scion Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, a four-time MP, had contested the elections to Mysuru Lok Sabha on six occasions, of which five were as a Congress candidate. The only time he contested as a BJP candidate in 1991, Mr. Wadiyar had been routed by Congress candidate Chandraprabha Urs.

M. Lakshman, Congress candidate

M. Lakshman, Congress candidate | Photo Credit: File photo

However, Mr. Yaduveer has chosen to don the saffron colours at a time when the BJP has not only held the constituency, but also formed the government at the Centre for the last two terms.

Prestige battle for CM

The elections to Mysuru Lok Sabha constituency will also be seen as a prestige battle for Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. Even though his home constituency Varuna falls in the adjoining Chamarajanagar Lok Sabha constituency, the stakes will remain high for the Chief Minister as Mysuru Lok Sabha constituency comprises six Assembly segments of his home district Mysuru while the remaining two Assembly segments are in the neighbouring Kodagu district.

Mr. Siddaramaiah, who has already campaigned twice in the constituency while admitting leaders from the BJP and the JD(S) into the party fold, is expected to return again for electioneering again despite his busy schedule in the rest of the State.

Meanwhile, 32-year-old Yaduveer, the great grandson of the last Maharaja of Mysore Jayachamaraja Wadiyar, who had been adopted by Pramoda Devi Wadiyar as the royal heir during a ceremony in Mysuru palace in February 2015, keeps referring to the development initiatives taken up in the princely state of Mysore by the erstwhile Maharajas. During his election campaign meetings, he promises to make his own contribution to the people of the region in the present-day democratic set-up. 

Though he said he was participating in public activities since the last nine years, Mr. Yaduveer said he realised that policy changes in society can be brought about only through political means and hence the electoral plunge.

Meanwhile, the Congress is seeking to counter the “royal aura” of the BJP candidate by highlighting not only their choice of a loyal party worker, the guarantee schemes of the Congress government and Mr. Siddaramaiah’s popularity in the region, but also playing the caste card.

With Vokkaliga voters expected to play a key role in the outcome of the polls, Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar chose to address the candidate as “Lakshman Gowda” at a public event while Mr. Siddaramaiah decried the efforts made by the candidate’s adversaries to question his Vokkaliga roots.

A Vokkaliga and more

However, Mr. Lakshman has made it clear that he was seeking votes on the plank of development and would elicit support of all castes, including Vokkaligas. He has been distributing booklets on the development initiatives that Mr. Siddaramaiah had taken up for Mysuru during his earlier tenure between 2013 and 2018 with a promise to take forward the welfare measures.

It remains to be seen whether the Congress can stop the BJP from registering a “hat trick” victory in Mysuru Lok Sabha constituency or Mr. Yaduveer can stretch the saffron party’s winning streak in Mysuru to another term.

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