The poll tussle in a Bangalore seat is taking centrestage with Congress candidate Tejaswini Gowda, who had trounced former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda in the 2004 polls, taking on his son and JDS chief H D Kumaraswamy.
Besides Kumaraswamy, Journalist-turned-politician Tejaswini is pitted against her one-time close friend C P Yogeshwara, an MLA who recently quit the Congress and is contesting on a BJP ticket, in the keenly watched contest for the Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha constituency on April 23.
Tejaswini had a dream debut in politics in 2004 when she cantered home against Deve Gowda from Kanakapura constituency, which has become extinct after delimitation, in a battle of David and Goliath. Gowda finished an embarrassing third then.
Bagging the victory with a margin of over one lakh votes against her nearest rival Ramachandra Gowda (BJP), she hogged the headlines for ringing true an astrological prediction that it was only a woman, who could defeat the JDS supremo.
She was given the Congress ticket despite strong opposition from several leaders, including her once mentor and KPCC working President D K Shivakumar, who had scripted her success in the last polls. The party high command has chosen Tejaswini overlooking Shivakumar's bid to get the seat for one of his relatives.
The bitter feud in the run-up to securing the party nomination is expected to impact Tejaswani's electioneering with Shivakumar likely to keep away from campaigning for her, though she did not think so.
"The pressure is on Shivakumar (a Vokkaliga strong man in the party) as the constituency is a Vokkaliga belt. It is going to be a challenge for him to prove his mettle in the Vokkaliga land," Tejaswani, one of the two women candidates fielded by Congress in Karnataka, said.
"Kumaraswamy does not intimidate me and I am a more mature politician now. I am confident I will win this time too, only because of my work and nothing else," she says.
"My fight is not only against the former Chief Minister but also against BJP candidate Yogeshwar. We have to work a bit hard as Yogeshwar left the party," said the once-successful anchor of a regional talk show.
Another feature that would make the triangular fight even more competitive is that all the three candidates are Vokkaligas, a dominant caste in Bangalore Rural.
The area of the constituency is spread over three districts - Bangalore Urban, Ramanagara and Tumkur. The constituency comprises newly carved Assembly constituencies Rajarajeshwarinagar and Bangalore South.
Post-delimitation, the Kanakapura constituency from which Tejaswani defeated Gowda, has been renamed Bangalore Rural.