With picture now becoming clear following the release of the first list of candidates by the three major political parties, battle lines have been drawn for the May 5 Assembly elections.
Congress came out with a list of 177 candidates, BJP 140 and Janata Dal (S) 122 on Friday. Former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa had, however, taken a lead in releasing his party's (Karnataka Janata Paksha) list of 69 candidates, giving them a head start.
The keenly watched contest will be in Varuna constituency, carved out from Chamundeswari after reconstitution of constituencies, in Mysore district where Congress legislature party leader Siddaramaiah, who has an eye on the chief minister's post, will face three major rivals of BJP, JD(S) and KJP. They have respectively fielded Karnataka Exhibition Authority chairman SD Mahendra, former Police officer Cheluvaraju and Yeddyurappa's personal assistant Ka Pu Siddalingaswamy who has been nursing the constituency for a while.
Perhaps, the next interesting fight will be in Krishnaraja constituency in Mysore city where district in charge minister SA Ramadas, who has won three of the four battles he has fought so far, losing once to M K Somashekar, now Congress candidate, is facing a tough challenge. Besides Somashekar, the other major rival the medical education minister will face is HV Rajeev of KJP. Ramadas and Rajeev started their campaign well in advance with door-to-door visits while Somashekar jumped into the fray after he became confident of the party ticket. JD(S) has fielded KR Bank president H Vasu.
Former Congress minister and sitting MLA Tanveer Sait is trying his luck for the fourth time. He is facing former exhibition authority chairman BP Manjunath of the BJP and BSR Congress party candidate Ikram Siddique. The JD(S) is yet to name its candidate. There is already dissidence emerging in the BJP with another aspirant and former MLA and now Zoo Authority chief E Maruthi Rao Pawar threatening to go his own way if the BJP failed to review its decision. He may also jump into the fray if the BJP ignores his threat, probably under the JD(S) banner.
Let down badly by the BJP in failing to meet his ministerial ambition, four-time MLA H S Shankaralinge Gowda is contesting again from the Chamaraja constituency after shifting loyalty to the JD(S). The BJP has put up Mysore Urban Development Authority chairman L Nagendra. Congress has former Mayor, Vasu, for the third time. Arun Gowda is the KJP candidate.
As Siddaramaiah has opted for Varuna, Congress has chosen sitting MLA M Sathyanarayana in Chamundeswari. He will be facing a strong contender in JD's rival GT Deve Gowda, a former minister. However, Gowda is contesting from this constituency for the first time. M Appanna will try his luck again as a KJP candidate after quitting the BJP, which has fielded Arun Gowda.
The rest of the six Assembly constituencies in the district will witness all six sitting candidates, five Congress and one JD(S) candidates bidding to retain their seats. They are former Union minister V Sreenivasa Prasad (Nanjangud), former minister H C Mahadevappa (T Narasipur), K Venkatesh (Periyapatna), H P Manunath (Hunsur), Chikkanna (HD Kote) all of Congress and Sa Ra Mahesh (JD-S).