Bangalore: Call it “son stroke” or a generational shift in Karnataka politics; it is all evident in the Lok Sabha elections in the state.
A few old guards are paving the way for their sons to take over. The sons are steering talks, chalking out campaign strategies and setting sights on millions of young voters.
Prashant Deshpande and S S Mallikarjun, sons of Higher Education Minister R V Deshpande and Horticulture Minister Shamanur Shivashankarappa respectively, are making a bid to inherit their fathers' legacy.
Others like Mahima Patel, son of former Chief Minister late J H Patel, and Geeta Shivarajkumar, daughter of another former CM late S Bangarappa, are keen on realising the unfulfilled dreams of their fathers.
Prashant and Mallikarjun have for long been involved in party affairs, but are making sincere efforts to step out of their fathers' shoes to try their luck in Lok Sabha polls.
Geeta Shivarajkumar, wife of noted Kannada actor Shivarajkumar, son of Kannada thespian late Rajkumar, though a political novice and married into the family that always shunned politics, has plunged into the electoral fray from Shimoga. Rajkumar had always scrupulously avoided politics.
Geetha is pitted against former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, who is seeking to make his Parliamentary debut.
Prashant, who is taking on BJP's sitting MP Ananthkumar Hegde in Uttara Kannada constituency, has been involved in party and social activities in his home district and serves as trustee of the R V Deshpande Memorial Trust, which runs several non-profit institutions across the state.
Prashant, the 36-year-old who did his post-graduation from Harvard Law School and BA from National Law school of India University here, is yet to muster enough strength to counter BJP's Hegde, who had defeated Congress' Margaret Alva, now Rajasthan Governor, by 22,769 votes in the 2009 elections.
Congress' Mallikarjun, who was not nominated in the last assembly elections, is no novice in political affairs in his home district Davanagere. He has the credit of making efforts to build the party's presence in Davanagere and Chitradurga.
Mallikarjun, who was minister in S M Krishna's Cabinet, was instrumental in Congress' win in the recent polls to Davangere City Corporation council, where it bagged 38 of 41 seats.
He is locked in a triangular contest with JDS' Mahima Patel and sitting BJP MP M G Siddeshwar, seeking a third term.
Davangere LS constituency, which came into being in 1977, was once a stronghold of Congress, whose MPs represented it continuously for 21 years from 1977 to 1996. The first sign of yielding ground was seen when the BJP candidate lost by a narrow margin of 455 votes in 1991.
Since 1996, BJP has had an upper hand here. Congress won in the 1998 election but BJP wrested it back in the next poll and has held on to it until now.