By P.T. Bopanna
The fate of Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah continuing as chief minister will be decided by the voters of Kodagu (Coorg) in the coming Lok Sabha polls because Kodagu-Mysuru Lok Sabha seat is the home constituency of the chief minister.
Any loss in bagging Kodagu-Mysuru constituency will rattle the seat of the chief minister as his deputy D.K. Shivakumar is desperately waiting to dislodge Siddaramaiah.
Siddaramaiah may have to vacate his seat as per the informal understanding reached under the rotational chief ministership worked out by the Congress high command. Siddaramaiah will have strong case to continue if the Congress does well in the Lok Sabha polls. Personally, I am in favour of Siddaramaiah completing his full tenure.
As things stand now, Congress is likely to lose the Kodagu-Mysuru seat to the rival BJP. There has been a talk that Siddaramaiah’s son Dr Yathindra will contest the seat against the BJP sitting Lok Sabha member Pratap Simha.
Kodagu is the bastion of the BJP and the saffron party will sweep the polls in the district. The Kodagu-Mysuru Lok Sabha comprises six assembly segments of Mysuru district and two segments of Kodagu – Virajpet and Madikeri.
In the last Assembly elections, Virajpet and Madikeri went to the Congress, because the BJP candidates – Appachu Ranjan and K.G. Bopaiah – had been MLAs for 20 years and the voters were tired of seeing the same old faces.
After winning the Virajpet seat in the Assembly polls, the Congress MLA A.S. Ponnanna, has failed to do much for the tribals and Dalits who form the core constituency of the Congress. Displaced tribals have not been provided with land, whereas ‘outsiders from Kerala’ have managed to corner the benefits.
The chief minister had appointed Ponnanna as his legal advisor with cabinet rank, to motivate him to woo the Kodagu voters in the Lok Sabha polls. But Ponnanna has not got his priorities right.
Months after he was elected MLA, Ponnanna still continues to attend felicitation functions across Kodagu. His social media posts are mostly about making grand entry in state car for the felicitation functions, rather than as a representative of a political party which stands for the poor.
Moreover, Ponnanna has been cultivating unpopular Kodava leaders to woo the Kodava voters, forgetting the fact that these Kodava leaders are a discredited lot and do not enjoy the confidence of Kodava voters who are in sizable numbers in the constituency.
The Kodagu segment is critical for the Congress to win the Kodagu-Mysuru Lok Sabha seat. It is not a secret that Siddaramaiah is a much hated politician in Kodagu after he decided to observe Tipu Jayanthi in his previous tenure, angering the Kodavas as they had suffered immensely during Tipu Sultan’s reign in the 18th century.
In the circumstances, Siddaramaiah should not field his son from the Kodagu-Mysuru seat because the Kodagu voters will not accept Dr Yathindra as their representative.
Though the sitting MP Pratap Simha is more of a paper tiger who has failed in safeguarding the interests of Kodavas (by mostly missing in action – high tension line, Kodava gun rights), Simha is considered a true disciple of Prime Minister Modi, who enjoys a cult status among the Kodavas.
Personally, I want chief minister Siddarmaiah to continue as chief minister till the end of his current tenure because he pursues a pro-poor policy and enjoys a secular image.
Nine months prior to last Assembly elections, I had predicted Siddaramaiah would be the next chief minister in a humour piece titled
HUMOUR: WILL COORG EGG ‘MISSILE’ CATAPULT SIDDARAMAIAH TO CM POST AGAIN?
I do not believe in astrology, but make my assessments based on hard facts and experience. Since I do not have any political affiliations, my predictions invariably come true, provided there is no ‘wave’ that can turn the tides
Sharing the link to the article where I had predicted Siddaramaiah would be the chief minister: