Bengaluru: Even as Opposition leader Siddaramaiah is vying for the Chief Minister’s post if the Congress comes to power in State after the upcoming Assembly elections, ensuring his own victory in the polls has become a challenge for him, sources said.
According to sources, Siddaramaiah, who hails from the Kuruba community, was finding it difficult to pick a ‘suitable’ assembly seat from where he could be confident of winning.
Siddaramaiah represented Varuna constituency in Mysuru District and chose Chamundeshwari constituency to accommodate his son. After his term as the Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah chose to contest from Chamundeshwari and Badami constituencies.
He took that decision following an intelligence report that he would suffer a humiliating defeat in Chamundeshwari constituency following backlash from the Vokkaliga community. The report turned out to be true and Siddaramaiah suffered a humiliating defeat in Chamundeshwari constituency. He managed to win narrowly in Badami constituency.
Siddaramaiah, however, has emerged as a mass leader and the champion of the backward classes in the state.
He enjoys the support of a good number of MLAs. Many have already started batting for him for the post of Chief Minister, all while embarrassing and challenging Karnataka unit Congress president D.K. Shivakumar.
Siddaramaiah is the only leader to launch poignant attacks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, RSS and Hindutva forces. His supporters proudly claim that, unlike others, “Siddaramaiah could not be targeted by the ED, CBI and other central government agencies”.
However, Siddaramaiah also has the image of being anti-Lingayat and anti-Vokkaliga in Karnataka, which, according to sources, is costing him dearly.
The Congress leader is reportedly forced to find a constituency where OBCs and minority voters are more in numbers when compared to those of the Lingayat and Vokkaliga communities.
Karnataka BJP legislator and former minister K.S. Eshwarappa has said that “Siddaramaiah’s defeat will be ensured by his own party leaders in the upcoming assembly elections”.
“Has the high command asked Siddaramaiah to contest elections from the Kolar assembly segment? He (Siddaramaiah) has gone there fearing defeat,” Eshwarappa stated.
“You (Siddaramaiah) ensured the defeat of Dalit leader Dr. G. Parameshwar to rule him out from the CM’s race. The defeat of K.H. Muniyappa, was ensured through former speaker Ramesh Kumar,” he added.
“The Vokkaliga community and Dalits are waiting to defeat Siddaramaiah… since both these communities have dumped him, he is in full appeasement of Muslims,” Eshwarappa said.
Former CM B.S. Yediyurappa had in the assembly suggested to Siddaramaiah that he should contest from Badami constituency, where he won, to prove his credentials as a leader.
As assembly polls are nearing, the challenge of winning an assembly seat for Siddaramaiah is more challenging than ensuring numbers of MLAs to become Chief Minister if the Congress is voted to power, sources said.