A story here goes that a senior Congress leader consulted an astrologer, who predicted that the Gowda family could be humbled only by stree shakti. So, the party has fielded two women to take on the Gowda sons — former minister HD Revanna and former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy — in Holenarsipura and Ramanagaram respectively.
As it puts its fortunes in the stars, the Congress will surely be remembering the famous rout of JD-S chief HD Deve Gowda in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections from Kanakpura constituency at the hands of rank outsider Tejaswani Ramesh of the Congress.
This time too, the Congress has fielded two greenhorns from families with political history. While former chief minister Ramakrishna Hegde’s daughter Mamata Nichani will take on Kumaraswamy, SG Anupama, daughter-in-law of former minister Puttuswamy Gowda, is up against Revanna.
Political circles, however, are abuzz with talk that the Congress has deliberately fielded weak candidates with post-poll compulsions in mind.
But mention the word weak to Anupama and she flares up: “Just wait till the results. I’ll win by a majority of 10,000-15,000 votes… People are fed up of strong-arm tactics and Revanna’s style; besides, he hasn’t done much for the people.”
But don’t the roads, educational institutions, hospitals and industries that have come up in Holenarasipura (in Hasan district) in the past five years work in her rival’s favour? Some development has taken place, she admits, but claims she would be more accessible to the people.
Surrounded by villagers at the family home of Puttaswamy — the only leader to defeat Deve Gowda here in 1989 and repeat the feat in Hasan in the 1999 Lok Sabha polls — Anupama says only the Congress can provide a stable government. Her strength, she says, is her family background. She also laughs off the astrological angle. And does she have the support of the party apparatus? SM Krishna campaigned in her constituency while senior leaders like Siddharamaiah and CM Ibrahim will be touring on Monday.
Ramesh Gowda, a teacher, says Anupama was attacked by goons shouting pro-Revanna slogans, who could only be acting thus as they are unnerved by her candidature. But Revanna dismisses her candidature, saying “it’s no contest at all”. His confidence stems from the fact that the JD-S swept all the local body and municipal polls, controls all panchayats in Holenarsipura and has the controls of Hasan district. His followers agree: “Revanna is our god and has developed the area so much. We cannot think of anyone else.”