KARNATAKA

Congress struggling to retain its bastion in Kolar district

Vishwa Kundapura

Straight fight between Congress and JD(S) likely in most segments



91 candidates are in the fray from six segments

Congress facing dissidence in some segments



KOLAR: With 91 candidates, including the former Speaker K.R. Rameshkumar and former Minister K. Srinivas Gowda, in the fray, the stage is set for electing six people’s representatives to State Assembly from Kolar district on May 10.

A straight contest between the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) is likely to take place in most of the segments, while two constituencies have created curiosity with independents all set to give tough fight to the mainstream political parties.

Mr. Rameshkumar of the Congress is facing his traditional rival and Janata Dal (Secular) nominee G.K. Venkatashiva Reddy in Srinivaspur.

Though the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party also are in the fray, it is likely to be a straight fight between Mr. Rameshkumar and Mr. Reddy.

Mr. Rameshkumar is contesting for the eighth time and aspiring for his fifth win. In spite of two Congress-dominated hoblis, which were earlier parts of Kolar and Vemgal constituencies, being included in Srinivaspur after delimitation, it may not be easy task for the former Speaker to break the jinx and enter the Assembly for second time in a row. During last four decades, either Mr. Rameshkumar or Mr. Reddy have been elected alternatively from this constituency irrespective of their party affiliation.

Close battle

If the present trend during campaign trail is any indication, Kolar segment is likely to have a close battle between three-time MLA and former Minister Mr. Srinivas Gowda (Congress) and independent candidate R. Varthur Prakash.

Unmindful of the scorching sun, these two have engaged in fierce door-to-door campaign to win over the voters. Since BJP candidate C. Sonne Gowda and Janata Dal (Secular) nominee Nisar Ahmad have seemingly failed to make much impact in the field, Mr. Prakash is being considered as a strong rival threatening to break the domination of Mr. Srinivas.

Mulbagal (SC) is another segment which created much anxiety in political circles. With every party encountering dissidence in the beginning, finally independent (Congress’ rebel) candidate Doddachowdappa is likely to play spoilsport and damage the prospects of the official nominee Amaresh. Muni Anjanappa of the Janata Dal (Secular) and Munikrishna of the BJP are two other serious contenders in the fray which has largest number of candidates, i.e. 29 in the district. The former Lokayukta N. Venkatachala’s active propaganda has propped up chances of Doddachowadappa.

Bickering

The internal bickering in the Congress and reported open campaigning by some of disgruntled leaders in favour of Republican Party of India nominee S. Rajendran may cost Congress’ official nominee N. Srinivas dear in Kolar Gold Fields.

M. Bhaktavatsalam of the Janata Dal (Secular) and Mr. Rajendran are involved in a neck-to neck here.

If Rajendran wins, it will be a hat-trick for him. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) is trying to consolidate its hold in the constituency by fielding P. Tangaraj.

Bangarpet (SC) is one of the two segments on which is BJP pinning hopes. B.P. Venkatamuniyappa of the party represented this segment in the dissolved Assembly. Congress candidate Narayanswamy is providing stiff resistance to the BJP nominee while Janata Dal (Secular) candidate Sheshu lags far behind in the propaganda.

Though Malur has returned BJP nominee in the 2004 elections in the form of N.S. Krishnaiah Shetty, Janata Dal (Secular) nominee A. Prabhakar is likely to spoil the chances of Mr Shetty. The alleged false promises such as issuing bonds to people is likely to act against Mr Shetty.

The campaigning of Congress candidate J. Krishna Sing is a drab.

Bahujan Samaj Party and some other parties have also fielded the candidates. However, more or less they have not been serious in their campaigning. By and large, the Janata Dal (Secular) is likely to gain from the dissidence in the Congress. There are 9,81,985 voters of which 4,97,004 are men.

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