CM holds top-secret meeting with confidants at Bandipur resort

Mysuru: The presence of master strategist and BJP President Amit Shah in Mysuru and a series of rallies by JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy in Nagamangala and other constituencies, has forced Chief Minister Siddharamaiah to rethink and rework on Congress strategies for the upcoming Assembly elections.

In the wake of threats of wresting power by the BJP and the JD(S), the CM wants to retain base in Old Mysuru region. The region, especially Chamundeshwari (where he is planning to contest) and Varuna (where he is likely to field his son Dr. Yathindra) is crucial for Siddharamaiah as it is his hometown. While a victory in Chamundeshwari and Varuna will assure him of another term as CM with his son as an MLA, an electoral loss will put a question mark on the political careers of both father and son.  

The CM, who is in Mysuru on a five-day tour, went to a resort on Thursday night in Bandipur Tiger Reserve limits to chalk out political strategies with his close associates and friends. Though it was touted as a leisure trip with his family members, except for his son Yathindra, none of the family members were present.

Interestingly, the resort – Serai – is owned by former Chief Minister S.M. Krishna’s son-in-law V.G. Siddhartha. There is no love lost between Siddharamaiah and Krishna who is in BJP now. There was tight security at the resort as a few days back some Naxalites were spotted in Gundlupet and Chamarajanagar. Even the mobile phones of the resort staff were confiscated to prevent information and photographs leaking out.

Food and beverages were served inside the hotel rooms and sources said that the CM was closeted with the party leaders from yesterday morning till late in the night. Though only three rooms were booked in the CM’s name, the entire resort was closed for guests. Hotel sources said that their resort is usually full during weekends. Since the Chief Minister was staying there, no guests were entertained due to security reasons, sources added.

WOOING VOTERS

Siddharamaiah, sources said, held parleys with party leaders and his close associates about wooing Lingayats-Veerashaiva voters as they are dominant both in Chamundeshwari and Varuna. While the CM is confident of garnering maximum Kuruba votes, he asked his associates to start ground work and hold meetings with Lingayats and Veerashaivas.

All his supporters and confidants in the two constituencies were summoned on Thursday night itself including the Presidents of Chamundeshwari and Varuna Block Congress units and prominent leaders of various communities. Plans have been chalked out to split the votes of the BJP and the JD(S), sources added.

LEADERS WAIT OUTSIDE RESORT

So secretive was the meeting that most of the senior leaders of the party had to wait outside the resort for hours and many of them returned without meeting the CM. Yesterday morning Command Area Development Authority (Cauvery) (CADA) Chairman H.S. Nanjappa arrived at the resort. However, security personnel did not allow him inside. He had to wait outside for over an hour. Finally, the CM summoned him through the security personnel.

K.R. Puram (Bengaluru) MLA Byrathi Basavaraju who had come to meet Siddharamaiah had to wait for over three hours in front of the resort’s gate. Sources said that he was munching ‘Kadalepuri’ at the entrance. It was not, however, confirmed that if he was able to meet the CM.

Also, PWD Minister Dr. H.C. Mahadevappa, MLAs K. Venkatesh and Puttarangashetty and ex-president of Zilla Panchayat and CM’s close confidant K. Marigowda were made to wait for some time. Later they entered the resort and met the CM. Siddharamaiah’s trusted aide Krishnaraja MLA M.K. Somasekhar had to return without meeting Siddharamaiah.

Siddharamaiah vacated the resort late last night and arrived in Mysuru this morning and had breakfast at Ramya Hotel at Lakshmipuram.