Making an all out attempt to make an inroad into the Congress bastion of Mandya, state BJP chief, B S Yeddyurappa on Tuesday tried to strike a chord with its people, calling himself a "manina maga " (son of the soil) in his campaign for the November 3 Lok Sabha bypoll in Karnataka's sugar bowl.
The BJP has never secured more than 5,000 votes in the Lok Sabha polls from Mandya, which has been a Congress fortress for long. But this time it is trying hard to make an impact in the constituency with Mr Yeddyurappa reminding the people that he belongs to Bhookanakere in KR Pete taluk. Addressing a public meeting , he said he owed Mandya everything including the Chief Minister's post that he occupied not too long ago. Although Shivamogga was his "karma bhoomi", Mandya was his "janma bhoomi," he declared.
"I will be the happiest if the lotus blooms in my home district of Mandya. I am not bothered about the Shivamogga seat, but my dream is to win Mandya," he told the people.
While the BJP has fielded Dr Siddaramaiah, a retired commercial tax officer, who belongs to Mandya, local Congress leaders are upset at the party giving away the constituency to the JD(S), its coalition partner in the government.
The absence of most Congress leaders during the filing of nomination by JDS candidate, L.R. Shivaramegowda, was telling enough.
The discontent in the party's ranks could prove costly for the JDS as it needs the cooperation of the local Congress workers to reach out to the villages here. Although a meeting of the Congress' Mandya office- bearers has been convened on October 21 in Bengaluru to request them to work for the JDS , it is unlikely to achieve much going by the present mood in the district unit of the party and this, it is believed, could work in favour of the BJP.