Legislative Council polls: Congress weighing options to field two candidates from Mysuru-Chamarajanagar constituency


R. Dharmasena from the Congress and Sandesh Nagaraj from the JD(S) are the sitting members, whose term is set to end on January 5, 2022

Congress party is weighing its options to field two candidates from the dual-member Mysuru-Chamarajanagar local authorities’ constituency elections for which are scheduled to be held on December 10.

R. Dharmasena from the Congress and Sandesh Nagaraj from the JD(S) are the sitting members, whose term is set to end on January 5, 2022. While Mr. Nagaraj has already made it clear that he is seeking a nomination from the BJP this time, the JD(S) will have to field a new face.

Though the Congress is confident of winning one seat easily, most of the aspirants seeking the party’s ticket are exerting pressure on the leadership to field two candidates, hopeful of bagging the second seat also on the premise that it enjoys enough support among the members of the gram panchayats and urban local bodies, who along with MLAs and MPs, constitute the electoral college.

The partymen arguing in favour of fielding two candidates are also banking on the support of former Minister and JD(S) MLA representing Chamundeshwari assembly constituency G.T. Deve Gowda, who wields considerable influence in many parts of Mysuru-Chamarajanagar region. Mr Gowda had not only spurned an offer from the JD(S) to field a member of his family in the coming elections, but had also evinced interest in joining the Congress before the next assembly elections.

However, the Congress leadership, which has so far not fielded two candidates in the constituency, is wary of votes splitting along casteist lines in the preferential voting system when two candidates from the party are in the fray, endangering its prospects. A rout in the elections after fielding two candidates will be humiliating, said a party leader.

Apart from sitting member Mr. Dharmasena, nine others including State’s Mahila Congress President Pushpa Amarnath, former KPCC Secretary Dr. D. Thimmaiah and former Mysuru Zilla Panchayat President K. Marigowda are in the race for the Congress nomination. All the aspirants had submitted their applications with a Demand Draft of ₹1 lakh as donation to the party.

The JD(S), which also enjoys a good support base in the constituency, is in the process of identifying a suitable alternative to Mr. Nagaraj. Former Minister and JD(S) MLA representing K.R. Nagar assembly segment S.R. Mahesh said there are four aspirants including Abhishek, who had unsuccessfully contested from Varuna assembly constituency in the last assembly elections, Krishna Naik from H.D. Kote and party leader Vivekanand.

BJP’s nomination has been sought by not only Mr. Nagaraj, but also Raghu Kautilya, the Chairperson of D. Devaraj Urs Development Corporation and former Mysuru Urban Development Authority (MUDA) Chairman C. Basave Gowda among others. While Mr. Kautilya is a camp follower of former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa and his son B.Y. Vijayendra, Mr. Basave Gowda has been a close confidante of former Minister and Chamarajanagar Lok Sabha MP V. Srinivas Prasad.

Though a keen electoral battle is already on the cards between the three mainstream parties, the elections is expected to turn even more curious and interesting if the Congress chooses to field two candidates.

The Election Commission of India has fixed November 23 as the last date for submitting nominations to the December 10 polls.

Around 6,500 people including members of gram panchayats, town panchayats, town municipal councils, city municipal councils and city corporation are expected to exercise their franchise in preferential voting during the elections.

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