MYSURU: The heady atmosphere that prevailed in the city in the run-up to, and during the assembly elections, was only beginning to dissipate in Mysuru, and it is now already in the throes of another political battle. With the Karnataka Election Commission scheduling polls to the (MCC) council on August 31, party offices have turned into quasi-battlegrounds with aspirants vying for tickets, putting those in the higher echelons of the party in the unenviable position of having to draw up a final list of candidates for the elections.
The last date for filing the nominations for the polls is August 20.

This year’s polls to the MCC council will take place in the aftermath of the boundaries of the 65 wards being redrawn as a result of delimitation, and the civic body reserving 31 seats for women. Consequently, many incumbent corporators are in the uncomfortable position of either being in a ward that is no longer the same geographically, or, in the case of male corporators, might have to vacate seats that have now been reserved for women.

Sources in the said that candidates were practically jostling for tickets to contest the local body polls. However, the party on Monday decided to stop entertaining new applicants for the seats, and on Tuesday, was in the process of deciding on whom to field.

Vice-president of BJP’s Mysuru city wing Jogi Manju said that more than thousand applicants had sought tickets to contest the polls. “There are more than 350 aspirants for the wards in the Krishnaraja assembly segment alone. These applications will be scruitinised by leaders, who will subsequently finalise the candidates. Krishnaraja MLA is in charge of going through the applications for the wards falling within that constituency,” said Manu, who is aspiring to bag the party ticket for Agrahara (ward 51).

The situation is not too different at the Congress office. The party’s city president R Murthy told TOI, “We have received more than 100 applications from each of the four assembly constituencies that come under the MCC – Krishnaraja, Chamaraja, Narasimharaja and Chamundeshwari.”

While the Congress and BJP are grappling with problems of plenty, sources in the JD(S) said that not many members had approached the leadership demanding tickets. “Candidates who contested the previous elections are likely to be given the ticket, and in those wards that re now reserved for women, it will probably be given to their family members,” said a JD(S) source.

Meanwhile, JD(S) has set August 18 as the deadline for aspirants to submit their applications for the tickets.

‘BJP must win 20 seats in Krishnaraja’

Krishnaraja MLA and senior BJP leader Ramadas, meanwhile, exhorted workers in the assembly segment to work towards ensuring the saffron party’s victory in 20 wards coming under the segment.

“Of the 223 polling booths in the Krishnaraja segment, the BJP emerged victorious in 198 during the assembly polls. We should win 20 wards in the KR segment to help the party get a majority in the council. The party has never won a majority in the MCC council, and it is time we changed that,” Ramadas told party workers on Tuesday.

Admitting that many among them would desire to contest the polls, Ramadas, however, warned workers not to indulge in anti-party activities if they were denied tickets. “In the assembly elections, BJP lost 18 seats by wafer-thin margins, ranging between 300 and 3,000 votes. If we had won even half of those seats, we could have formed the government. We have received more than 300 applications for 20 wards in the KR constituency, and the government has received 14 of them for women. This is a ploy by the coalition government to defeat us. We must understand this and fight,” he said.

Ramadas said that the party would launch its campaign for the polls on Thursday, and use the local body elections to garner support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

MP said that, with the polls to the MCC council throwing up a fractured verdict in 2013, the BJP had been forced to settle for the deputy mayor’s post. “We should get a majority this time,” he said.

– BK Lakshmikantha & Aravind HM

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