Union Minister Muniyappa faces tough challenge in Kolar
Facing a rebellion from his own partymen, Union Minister of State for National Highways K H Muniyappa is battling heavy odds to continue his winning streak for the sixth time in a row from Kolar reserved constituency in the Lok Sabha polls.india Updated: Apr 22, 2009 14:41 IST
Facing a rebellion from his own partymen, Union Minister of State for National Highways K H Muniyappa is battling heavy odds to continue his winning streak for the sixth time in a row from Kolar reserved constituency in the Lok Sabha polls.
Ever since tasting his maiden electoral success in 1991, Muniyappa has never looked back in this perennially drought-prone zone but the challenge from the ruling BJP's candidate D S Veeraiah has made the road bumpy for him now.
Muniyappa has won in 1991,1996, 1998, 1999 and 2004. But now, Muniyappa, a prominent Scheduled Caste leader of the district, has an unenviable task of conquering his enemies within his own party as much those outside it. He is facing stiff opposition from senior leaders including K Srinivasa Gowda and Dr Sudhakar, who lobbied with the Congress high command against re-nominating him.
Gowda blames Muniyappa for his defeat from Kolar segment in the 2008 Assembly polls by tacitly backing Congress rebel candidate Varthur Prakash, who emerged victorious and is reportedly working quitely to pay him back in the same coin.
Muniyappa seems unfazed by the threat of internal sabotage from rebels in the partty. "The development works I have undertaken under the UPA government in parts of Karnataka will help me this time and people will surely elect me", says a confident Muniyappa.
Muniyappa is also hoping to ride to victory on the basis of his achivements as Union Minister of State for Highways. Muniyappa won by a margin of over 11,000 votes against BJP's D S Veeraiah in the 2004 general elections. The BJP is betting on Veeraiah again, who is banking on the anti-incumbency factor to turn the tide in his favour.
"I am confident of victory this time. People have been discussing the developmental programmes taken up by the BJP Government headed by B S Yeddyurappa", says Veeraiah.
BJP has two MLAs from the backward Kolar district, where the saffron party is making quite inroads, exemplified by the trends in the previous Lok Sabha and assembly polls. The JDS has fielded former legislator G Chandranna in the constituency which has 13.23 lakh electorate.
Chandranna is counting on his party leader and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy to fetch the votes of Vokkaligas who have a significant presence. His campaign is being managed by Kumaraswamy's wife Anitha. Presence of 22 candidates presents a picture of a multi-cornered contest but on the ground, the fight is between the Congress and BJP.
The closure of Bharat Gold Mines Limited in Kolar Gold Fields, drinking water crisis and backwardness are key issues in Kolar, which is prominently associated with birth of the Dalit movement in the state.
More stories in this section:
First Published: Apr 22, 2009 14:33 IST