The rulers of Mysore were known for their secular outlook, more so in the case of the last four Wadiyars who reigned post-18th century. People of Mysore seem to have emulated this tradition in choosing their representative to the Lok Sabha, post-Independence.
A look at the list of candidates elected from the first general election in 1952 till the last one in 2009 reveals this feature, that of voters not discriminating on caste or community lines.
In the first election in 1952, when Mysore was a double-member constituency, Mysoreans elected M S Gurupadaswamy, a Lingayat, and N Rachaiah, a dalit. While Gurupadaswamy was from the Kisan Mazdoor Sabha, Rachaiah was from the Indian National Congress (INC).
In the 1957 election, S M Siddaiah and M Shankariya, both from the INC, were elected. Siddaiah was a dalit while Shankariya belonged to the Devanga or weavers' community.
Mysore became a single-member constituency in 1962 and Siddaiah was re-elected. He was followed by INC's H D Tulsidas Dasappa in 1967 and created an unbroken record of winning three times in succession, being re-elected in 1971 and 1977 by when Mysore state had become Karnataka state.
Tulsidas, who retained the seat for a decade, belonged to the prominent Vokkaliga community.
Next, in 1980 it was the turn of the prominent Lingayat community to get representation.
M Rajasekhara Murthy of the INC won in the election.
However, in 1984 and 1989, Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, the last scion of the royal family of Mysore representing the ruling class of the Urs community, was elected on the INC ticket.
In the next Lok Sabha election in 1991, it was the same Urs community representative, Chandraprabha Urs, a kin of the Mysore royal family, who was elected. She also represented the INC. She was the first woman to represent Mysore in the Lok Sabha and no woman has won since.
In 1996 election, it was the turn of Wadiyar to get re-elected on the INC ticket.
Nearly half a century's hold of the Congress was broken in 1998, although it was short-lived. The credit goes to BJP's C H Vijayashankar from the Kuruba community. In 1999, Wadiyar snatched the seat again contesting as an INC candidate and thus the Urs community enjoyed a five-time representation in the House, with late Wadiyar was a four-time winner.
It was the turn again of Vijayashankar, the Kuruba leader, to get re-elected on the BJP ticket in 2004 and in the last Lok Sabha, the Kuruba community retained the seat, but the member elected was from the INC, A H Viswanath, who is contesting again now to retain the seat. It may not be a surprise if the Kuruba community scores a hat-trick in the present election.
Thus Dalit, Lingayat, Devanga, Vokkaliga, Urs and Kuruba community have been favoured by the voters of Mysore in secular way.
Another significant feature is that the Mysore Lok Sabha seat has been shared between Congress and BJP over these years. Janata Dal (S) has not found favour with the voters or for that matter any other party.