Bengaluru: The BJP is reportedly considering fielding former Director General and Inspector General of Police, Shankar Bidari from Varuna in Mysuru district to take on CM Siddaramaiah’s son, Dr Yatindra, who is set to make his political debut from the constituency in the 2018 assembly poll.
“The BJP, which does not have a suitable candidate to contest against Dr Yatindra, is toying with the idea of pitting Mr Bidari against him. Besides being a Lingayat leader, he is famous for taking on forest brigand, Veerappan in the 90s,” said saffron party sources, adding that Mr Bidari’s proximity to the Suttur Mutt, a powerful lingayat mutt in Mysuru region, could also work in his favour.
Mr Siddaramaiah has made up his mind to contest the Assembly elections from Chamundeshwari leaving Varuna, which has elected him twice to the Assembly, to his son. Varuna, which shares a border with Nanjangud constituency, has a big chunk of Lingayats voters, besides Dalits, Kuruba and other backward classes.
The BJP believes that Mr Bidari could deliver the Lingayat votes and also win over the Dalits as former minister, V Srinivasaprasad, who is out to get Mr Siddaramaiah for dropping him from the cabinet, has vowed to transfer his support in the community to him. A strong Dalit leader from the Mysuru region, Mr Srinivasaprasad also nurses a grouse against the CM and Public Works Minister Dr H C Mahadevappa for his defeat in the Nanjangud byelection that he contested after quitting the Congress.
Mr Siddaramaiah is reportedly relying on Dr Mahadevappa to make things easier for Dr Yatindra, a political novice and to checkmate the BJP, he has recommended prominent seer, Shivarathri Deshikendra Swamy’s brother for member of the KPSC in the Lingayat quota. He is supposedly hoping that this will deflect some of the flak he has been receiving for his alleged attempts to divide the Lingayats over their demand for a separate religious tag. Mr Bidari admitted there was demand for him to contest from either the Bagalkot, Bijapur or Chamarajanagar districts, but he was leaving it to the party high command to decide. “I am ready to contest from any constituency that is picked for me,” he added
The BJP may also have a tacit understanding with JD(S) to defeat both Mr Siddaramaiah and Dr Yatindra in the 2018 polls, according to party sources.