Multiple MLA aspirants from the same party have launched rival campaigns in the same constituencies across the city, creating factionalism and chaos within parties and confusion among voters, party insiders said.
Given that this seems to be the situation in Opposition parties against incumbent MLAs, it has only strengthened the position of incumbents and made their road to victory a bit more easy in the city, political parties said.
For instance, in Byatarayanapura constituency represented by Congress’s Krishna Byre Gowda since 2008, four aspirants for BJP ticket - former councillor Muneendra Kumar, defeated BJP candidate A. Ravi, Chakrapani and Thammesh Gowda - have launched individual campaigns, visiting door to door meeting voters, and organising several events. The same is the case with Congress in Chickpet constituency, presently represented by BJP’s Uday Garudachar. At least three candidates, former MLA from the constituency R.V. Devaraj, former Mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun and MLC P.R. Ramesh, have all begun their campaign.
All aspirants who have begun campaigning that The Hindu spoke to expressed confidence that they will get ticket, often offered arguments to run down rival aspirants from their parties, even as they made the mandatory statement that all of them will work together on behalf of whoever gets the party ticket.
Mr. Thammesh Gowda, an aspirant from Byatarayanapura, said all four aspirants were together and determined to win the constituency this time.
“The party is keen to bring fresh faces and asked me to work in Vijayanagar. I am hopeful of the ticket this time,” said former councillor Umesh Shetty, from Vijayanagar where Dr. Ravindra, another former councillor from the party, has launched a campaign too on behalf of BJP.
Ms. Gangambike Mallikarjun said she was only campaigning for the party and was hoping for ticket. Another former mayor Padmavathi, an aspirant from Rajajinagar, said she hopes the party will give her ticket. Manohar, one of the general secretaries of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC), resigned from his post on Wednesday in protest over his name being sidelined for ticket from Rajajinagar.
This seems to be the scenario in most of the 28 constituencies across the city, with incumbent MLAs across parties leading high-pitch campaigns for their re-election. “These rival campaigns by aspirants of the same party against incumbents will only end up helping the incumbent MLAs to strengthen their position. Rarely will we find these aspirants now running these rival campaigns really join hands after one of them gets the ticket, though all of them will say so now. This has also created confusion among the people as to who is the face of the party in such constituencies,” said Ramalinga Reddy, working president, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee, Bengaluru division and a senior MLA from the city.
N.R. Ramesh, president, BJP - Bengaluru South, and a ticket aspirant from Jayanagar constituency, said given that the party will announce ticket only a few days after the elections are notified, the party had directed aspirants to campaign for the party, but under strict guidelines to not declare themselves as candidates. “In fact, we served notices to three aspirants in Anekal, Vijayanagar and BTM Layout for claiming to be party’s candidates during the campaign,” he said.
The aspirants have been tasked to distribute handbills of the achievements of the Union and State governments and scams during former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s tenure in the State.