Will Siddaramaiah, Mahadev lock horns in Varuna?

M. Mahadev

M. Mahadev  

Shankar Bennur

The two leaders almost came to blows at a Congress meet recently

Mahadev’s supporters are reportedly pressuring him to challenge Siddaramaiah

BJP leader is also said to be planning to contest from either Hanur or Gundlupet

MYSORE: The newly-formed Varuna constituency in Mysore is in the spotlight.

There are clear indications that the former Minister M. Mahadev, who joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in Bangalore on Saturday, may take on the former Deputy Chief Minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah, who is almost certain to contest from this constituency.

Mr. Mahadev has evinced interest to contest from Varuna, which has been created by merging Bannur constituency and parts of Chamundeshwari constituency, as parts of Nanjangud constituency from where Mr. Mahadev contested all these years, had been included in Varuna constituency.

It is learnt that Mr. Mahadev’s supporters are bringing pressure on him to challenge Mr. Siddaramaiah.

The two leaders almost came to blows at a party convention here recently. When the Congress ignored his complaints against Mr. Siddaramaiah, Mr. Mahadev bid adieu to the party, with which he was associated for over three decades.

“I have the confidence to contest from any general constituency in Mysore and Chamarajanagar districts. I have told this to the BJP leaders. Let them decide my segment. It could even be Varuna or Chamarajanagar,” Mr. Mahadev said.

When Mr. Mahadev was in the Congress, he was eyeing Chamarajanagar after Nanjangud was made a reserved constituency.

In the wake of the recent developments, his supporters are prevailing upon him to contest from Varuna instead of Chamarajanagar.

“Even if he (Mr. Siddaramaiah) contests from Chamundeshwari, which is unlikely, he (Mr. Mahadev) should challenge him there,” said people close to the leader in Nanjangud.

What is being heard in political circles here is that Mr. Mahadev may not take the risk of challenging Mr. Siddaramaiah as it has become inevitable for him to win the election to continue his political journey, as he had lost the previous election in Nanjangud.

“Suppose he loses this election, his political career will be at stake. Therefore, he may choose a safe constituency,” they said. Sources in the BJP also said that Mr. Mahadev was even planning to contest from either Hanur or Gundlupet.

Congress leaders here maintain that Mr. Siddaramaiah’s poll prospects would not be affected even if he was pitted against either in Varuna or even in Chamundeshwari. The total number of voters in Varuna is 18,87,17. Of this, the number of male voters is 96,420 and female voters 92,297.

Meanwhile, a convention will be held either in Mysore or Chamarajanagar on April 15 where Mr. Mahadev’s supporters will join the BJP.

National BJP leaders, including Karnataka in charge Arun Jaitley, are likely to attend the convention, besides the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and BJP State president D.V. Sadananda Gowda.

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