Some leaders grow bigger than their parties and dictate terms to their high command. That's nothing new. Now, leaders are not just taking their parties for granted, but they are even taking the legislative assembly constituencies in Karnataka for granted.
Such autocratic behavior has been exhibited by some of the top leaders of the Congress, the BJP and the JD(S). One example is how BJP State President BS Yeddyurappa just presumed that his son Vijayendra would be the candidate for Varuna in Mysuru district.
The son is not a resident of Mysuru district. Like any patriarch, he too wanted to introduce his son to electoral politics. He chose Varuna after seeing the voters' caste strength.
Here, Veerashaiva-Lingayat voting population outnumbers others. Hence Yeddyurappa, still the face of the community, decided to camp his son here. As Siddaramaiah is facing the charges of dividing Veerashiava-Lingayats, the senior wanted to work on the sentiments of his community voters.
He also wanted to groom his son as leader of Mysuru and Chamarajanagar as these two districts lack a strong Veerashaiva-Lingayat leader.
The BJP had never officially announced that Vijayendra would be its choice. However, this youngster chose to position himself as the candidate and began campaigning. He surely created a buzz within days. He could connect to the locals. He proved himself that he can be a leader. That's all fine. But why did the father and son take the party as well as the constituency for granted?
It is a fact that Varuna lacks a good BJP leader. But what about the local BJP leaders who had aspired for years to become candidate here? After missing many days, now the party's official nominee Thotadappa Basavaraj is struggling to prove his mettle. Leaders are created and nurtured by the party. Unfortunately, Basavaraj is not that lucky.
The BJP's central leaders rightly made Yeddyurappa to announce that his son is not going to contest. With the exit of Vijayendra, the party may not be too optimistic of winning this seat.
Yatindra, son of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, is the Congress' nominee here. Being the CM's constituency, the constituency has been pampered over the years.
Whatever be the poll outcome, the party has sent a stern message to Yeddyurappa – do not try to monopolize or hijack the party. Had Vijayendra contested, then Prime Minister Narendra Modi would have had no moral right to attack the rival Congress on dynasty politics.
There could be more than one reason for the BJP to take such hard decision. The internal surveys might have indicated that the ground is not ready for Vijayendra. If this is true, then the party's homework had been poor.
But one intriguing point is: why the party remain mute when Vijayendra was briskly campaigning? Such questions do not get answer.
The BJP also pushed out senior leader Shobha Karandlaje, MP, from the poll field. The selection committee did not even consider her name. She wasn't averse to contesting. She is a known close associate of Yeddyurappa. Probably, she would have won easily from Yeshwanthpur or anywhere else. Till recently, none in political circles could have imagined that the BJP would go to the polls without Karandlaje.
This development is also seen as a message to the state president that he and his coterie members alone would not be allowed again to run the party. Again, the party might have lost a winning seat by not fielding her.
In case of Siddarmaiah, he presumed that his son alone can replace him in Varuna. While abandoning Varuna as sitting MLA, he went back to Chamundeshwari believing that people would welcome him again. Why should they embrace him? For ditching them in 2013 to settle for Varuna? Or, admire him for all the Bhagyas he has bestowed?
Forget being voters sure of his merits, he himself found the going tough in Chamundeshwari. He did a long jump of 600 kms from Mysuru to Badami in Bagalkote district to try his destiny.
The people of Badami had never hit the streets demanding that they should be represented by only Siddaramaiah. There was no anti-incumbency against the sitting Congress MLA BB Chimmanakatti. But because the constituency has more Kuruba population than others, the chief minister thought it is a safe seat for him.
Siddaramaiah unseated the incumbent MLA and filed the nomination. He has given many excuses to contest from two constituencies.
After issuing several advertisements promoting only himself as the one and only leader who is performing, he mustered courage to test his fortune only where his community is in large numbers. It is said that Chimmanakatti has been promised that he would be made an MLC.
Siddaramaiah has drawn a parallel between him and Narendra Modi for contesting from two constituencies. It is a difficult logic to accept. For the saffron party, the 2014 elections was a sort of Hindu assertion.
Modi had consciously chosen Varanasi, Hinduism's holy place, to contest in addition to Vadodara in Gujarat. His electoral record in Maninagar assembly constituency can never give him jitters to contest even as Lok Sabha nominee.
In the 2012 Gujarat assembly elections, he had secured 75% of the total vote share. When did Siddaramaiah enjoy such a thumping majority in any election?
The BJP's ST face, B Sriramulu, the Ballari MP, arrogated to himself that he can contest from anywhere and win.
He has moved out of Ballari, the district which helped him to move from rags to riches, and has planted himself in Molakalmuru in Chitradurga as well as in Badami. The reason, apparently, is that his presence would influence the neighboring districts in a positive way and fetch votes.
If Sriramulu is such a tall leader, then he could have travelled widely and influenced voters of his community across the state. In Badami, it can be construed as a tactic by the party to take head-on the chief minister.
But in Molakalmuru, the party did injustice to the BJP's aspirant and sitting MLA S Thippeswamy, who is now an Independent candidate.
It is only the so-called tall leaders who enjoy the luxury of either abandoning their home constituency or chicken out. Such privilege is not there for second line leaders in any party. Nowadays, leaders are made, not born.