On Thursday, the Congress released its second list of 42 candidates for the Chamundeshwari constituency in the Mysuru district, setting the stage for a competitive election. Mavinahalli Siddegowda has been nominated to run against Janata Dal (Secular) leader G.T. Deve Gowda, who is seeking re-election.
In the 2018 elections, GTD, as G.T. Deve Gowda is known, defeated former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah from Chamundeshwari by nearly 36,000 ballots and emerged as a giant slayer.
In spite of the fact that on paper it is a contest between GTD and Siddegowda, it is perceived to be more of a personal battle between GTD and Siddaramaiah, who is eager to avenge his 2018 loss, than the Congress versus the JD (S).
Even though the BJP has not yet announced its candidates, the Chamundeshwari constituency is expected to be a direct contest between the Congress and the JD (S).
Aide to opponent
About thirteen other candidates, including a few Siddaramaiah loyalists like Marigowda, have been marginalized by Congress leaders in favor of Mavinahalli Siddegowda, a former close aide of GTD.
Siddegowda, who has enclaves of support in Yelwal and Jayapura, had been closely observing GTD’s political moves up until two months ago, when the latter was rumored to be flirting with the BJP, only for him to reverse his position and subsequently incline towards the Congress.
Siddegowda had anticipated that GTD’s departure from JD(S) would pave the way for him to claim the coveted B form and run for office.
However, former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and other JD(S) leaders successfully appeased Mr. GTD. GTD made an emotional plea during a dinner meeting to declare that he was “forever indebted” to the former prime minister who had visited his home and dined with him.
Mr. GTD was not only guaranteed a seat from Chamundeshwari, but he also negotiated a ticket for his son, Harish Gowda, in order to secure his political future in his fiefdom of Hunsur.
Siddaramaiah’s proxy conflict
Siddegowda, realizing that the door to his political advancement in the JD(S) was now closed, joined the Congress in a meeting attended by Siddaramaiah and others last month. Prior to joining the JD(S), Siddegowda had socialized with the Congress for some time and served as the director of MYMUL.
Mr. Siddaramaiah, who is still smarting from his 2018 ignominious defeat at the hands of GTD, personally welcomed Siddegowda and others into the Congress fold. During the public meeting, the former CM became impassioned and called for the JD(S) to be “trounced” in the upcoming elections.
The fact that Mr. Siddaramaiah has chosen GTD’s close subordinate for the electoral battle highlights their intense and acrimonious political rivalry, which will be on full display during the campaign and the May 10 elections.