Chief Minister designate H.D. Kumaraswamy sent a clear signal over quitting Ramanagaram seat, which catapulted him to the top post in 2006, by taking oath as legislator from Channapatna Assembly constituency on May 19. With this, the bypoll to Ramanagaram constituency has become certain.
In the run-up to the polls considering the statements made by Mr. Kumaraswamy, it was believed that he would retain Ramanagaram as it has proved lucky for him in his political career. The present one is his fourth successive victory since 2004 and first one from Channapatna.
During the campaign, Mr. Kumaraswamy had said that Ramanagaram and Channapatna are like his “two eyes” and he would not discriminate between them. But, JD(S) sources claim that Mr. Kumaraswamy sacrificed Ramanagaram for Channapatna for strategic and political compulsions. According to Mr. Kumaraswamy’s own admission, “Letting Ramanagaram go is the decision of the party’s high command.”
Acknowledging this, senior party leader Basavaraj Horatti said: “Mr. Kumaraswamy’s move should be read in the present political context, and not from an emotional point of view.”
It is said that Mr. Kumaraswamy vacating Channapatna would have resulted in letting go of this constituency to C.P. Yogeshwar, who lost in the May 12 polls. As there is no “strong” candidate to fight the battle, JD(S) decided to retain Channapatna and sacrifice Ramanagaram. The JD(S) and Congress are planning to field a powerful candidate “acceptable” to both the parties to retain the seat, as it is the question of numbers in the Assembly.
As BJP is planning to field “its Vokkaliga leader” Mr. Yogeshwar, who lost in Channapatna, to avenge the defeat, sources in both Congress and JD(S) are not ruling out the possibility of fielding Vokkaliga strongman and actor M.H. Ambareesh. It is being said that Mr. Ambareesh is the most acceptable candidate for both the parties.
Congress candidate C.M. Lingappa had defeated Mr. Ambareesh in 1996 bypolls, after Mr. Deve Gowda vacated the constituency, after being elected as Prime Minister. JD(S) is not ruling out the possibility of fielding Anitha Kumaraswamy, wife of Mr. Kumaraswamy, to create a sense of belongingness among the Ramanagaram electorate.
Ramanagaram has the history of offering three Chief Ministers to Karnataka.Architect of Vidhana Soudha and the second Chief Minister Kengal Hanumanthaiah represented Ramanagaram. Before becoming the Prime Minister, H.D. Deve Gowda became Chief Minister in 1994 after emerging victorious from this constituency. Mr. Kumaraswamy became the Chief Minister after getting elected from Ramanagaram in 2004.
Interestingly, all three of them did not complete the five-year term. While Mr. Gowda vacated the constituency after becoming the Prime Minister, Kengal Hanumanthaiah governed from March 1952 to August 1956. Mr. Kumaraswamy had to vacate the post after 20 months of his rule, because of the agreement with Bharatiya Janata Party.