Mine lessees slug it out in Vijayanagar

Hospet segment rechristened as Vijayanagar Assembly constituency in 2008 is all set to witness a clash among mine lessees, including B.S. Anand Singh, Minister for Tourism and mine lessee seeking re-election on the Bharatiya Janata Party ticket, and Abdul Wahab, mine lessee , from the Congress.

Mr. Singh had decided to take a break from electoral politics, citing the split in the BJP, among other reasons, and then toyed with the idea of contesting as an Independent.

He surprised many by filing his nomination as a BJP candidate, and explained that to the pressure from his supporters and party leaders.

The Minister, who won in the 2008 elections, was popular in the constituency even before his entry into politics. He seems confident of a victory in the May 5 polls, considering the development projects implemented.

In spite of initial opposition from his own partymen, Mr. Wahab was given the Congress ticket.

The opposition to his candidature stemmed from the fact that he is facing charges of illegal mining.

Mr. Wahab is contesting elections after nearly two decades. He contested the 1989 and 1994 Assembly polls and lost.

Backed by H.R. Gaviyappa, former MLA, and many of the local party leaders, and keeping in mind the pro-Congress wave witnessed during the urban local body polls, Mr. Wahab feels that he stands a good chance of winning.

Among the other candidates is Rani Samyukta, cousin of Mr. Anand Singh and also a mine lessee, who is contesting on the BSR Congress ticket.

Incidentally, the mining leases held by all three candidates are among the 49 leases that have been ordered to be cancelled by the Supreme Court.

There are 20 candidates in the constituency, including K. Basavaraj of the Janata Dal (Secular) and B. Veeresh of the Karnataka Janata Paksha. The number of voters is 1,71,129.