Bangalore: In the battle for Karnataka, the Gowdas are a worried lot because it looks like the female electoral candidates might have the last laugh.
The electrifying presence of former chief minister and Deve Gowda's arch rival Ramakrishna Hegde's daughter, Mamatha Nichani, has certainly creased the brow of the patron saint of the JD(S).
And it's not just Mamatha alone who is pitted against Gowda's younger son H D Kumaraswamy in Ramanagara constituency. Kumaraswamy's elder brother and former power minister H D Revanna will have a faceoff with S G Anupama in Holenarsipur in Gowda's home district Hassan.
Supporting his party’s decision, former Karnataka chief minister and member of the Congress Campaign Coordination Committee SM Krishna said, “This move by the Congress shows the importance the party gives to its women candidates.”
It is believed that Congress’ electoral strategy can be blamed on the superstitions of the Gowda family. The stars say that the Gowda clan cannot defeat a woman opponent, and history testifies this theory. After all, Deve Gowda lost the 2004 Lok Sabha poll to Tejaswini Sri Ramesh of the Congress.
However, Tejaswini argued, “I do not advocate astrology or superstition in politics. Such things can make one feel confident for a moment but it cannot decide your fate.”
So, despite all arguments the Gowda brothers will be looking at a grim contest.
Both the women candidates come from politically well-heeled families. Mamatha, who has been into active politics, joined the Congress about two years back and this will be her first election. So, in many ways this could well be a re-visitation of the old Hegde versus Gowda rivalry.
“My party thought that I was capable enough to take on Kumaraswamy. So I am quite charged about the electoral battle,” Mamatha said.
Anupama is the daughter-in-law of the late Congress leader of Hassan, G Puttaswamy Gowda, who has defeated Gowda twice, once in an Assembly contest and once in a Lok Sabha battle.
And while nobody from the JD(S) is willing to speak about it, Gowda is a worried man. So much so that he is learnt to have advised his sons to reconsider contesting against women, but the siblings are not relenting.
When the contest is girls versus the Gowdas, there's bound to be fireworks on the cards, but what will be interesting no doubt is to see if history repeats itself.
(With inputs from D P Satish)