The Karnataka Congress, led by D.K. Shivakumar, seems to be reaching out to all sections in Rajarajeshwarinagar constituency in Bengaluru for drumming up support to counter BJP’s Munirathna, one of the MLAs whose defection to the saffron party led to the collapse of the JD(S)–Congress coalition government last year.

Since the day of the filing nomination papers by the party candidate Kusuma H., Mr. Shivakumar has been visiting the houses of prominent people in the constituency and seeking their support.

Building network

Besides inducting nearly 300 ward-level leaders from other parties into the Congress in the last couple of days, Mr. Shivakumar has met Kannada actor Prem Kumar and his wife, and Karnataka Rakshana Vedike president Narayana Gowda at their residences.

Sources in the Congress said Mr. Shivakumar has been meeting families of prominent social workers, artistes, and influential people in the constituency for building a support base cutting across social cleavages to challenge the “money power” of Mr. Munirathna, the film producer-turned-politician and the richest man in the fray going by the assets declared.

Ms. Kusuma, wife of deceased IAS officer D.K. Ravi, who quit academics, is testing political waters for the first time, by facing Mr. Munirathna, who won the last two Assembly elections on a Congress ticket. The party has been projecting the clean image of Ms. Kusuma to garner votes of women and youth in the urban constituency, which has a good number of Vokkaliga votes.

Women, fans backing

The D.K. Ravi Abhimanigala Balaga, headed by N. Murali Gowda, too has pledged its support to Ms. Kusuma. Association members, who are expected to stay back in the constituency till the polling on November 3, have decided to focus the campaign by informing voters of the good work done by Ravi in Kolar and other districts when he was Deputy Commissioner.

The Mahila Congress,led by its president Pushpa Amarnath, held a protest against the BJP for a police case registered against “innocent” Ms. Kusuma for alleged violation of the model code of conduct while filing nominations.

On the other hand, Mr. Munirathna, who has banking on the support of the BJP government and Ministers, has been developing a narrative of “development works” executed by him in the constituency to get votes. JD(S) candidate is V. Krishnamurthy, also a débutante and a Vokkaliga like Ms. Kusuma.

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