Congress announces 124 candidates for Karnataka polls, Siddharamaiah gets Varuna
The Congress has fielded Siddaramaiah from the Varuna constituency in Mysuru, replacing his son and sitting MLA Yathindra, and no candidates have been announced in the Kolar constituency, which the former CM had announced as his preferred seat
The Congress on Saturday announced its first list of 124 candidates for the Karnataka Assembly elections, due in May, with former chief minister Siddaramaiah fielded from the Varuna constituency in Mysuru, replacing his son and sitting MLA Yathindra. No candidates have been announced in the Kolar constituency, which the Opposition leader had announced as his preferred seat, and Yathindra’s name does not figure for any other segment in the first list.
The party has set a target of winning at least 150 seats in the 224-member Assembly. The Election Commission of India (ECI) is expected to announce the poll schedule in the next few days. The first list mostly contains the party’s sitting seats and the constituencies for which only one name was recommended by the state unit.
Predictably, state Congress chief D K Shivakumar will contest from his Kanakapura assembly constituency, while the party has fielded former deputy chief minister G Parameshwara from Koratagere (reserved for Scheduled Caste candidates).
Hours after the party announced the first candidate list, Siddaramaiah said he wants to contest from two seats-- Kolar and Varuna--, if the party agrees.
“I had said, it is left for the high command to decide (regarding the constituency). High Command has asked me to contest from Varuna. I have said I will contest from two constituencies, from Kolar and here, again it is left to the high command,” he said. He clarified that his son will not be contesting from any constituency.
Among senior party leaders who have got the tickets include R V Deshpande- Haliyal, H K Patil-Gadag, M B Batil (campaign committee chief) – Babaleswar, Priyank Kharge (Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge’s son)- Chitapur, K R Rameshkumar (former Speaker) -Srinivaspur, Eshwar Khandre (working president)- Bhalki, Satish Laxmanrao Jarkiholi (working president)- Yemkanmardi, K J George- Sarvagnanagar, Dinesh Gundu Rao-Gandhi Nagar.
M Krishnappa and his son Priya Krishna have got tickets again from Bengaluru constituencies. Ninety-one-year-old leader Shamanur Shivashankarappa has once again got the ticket from Davanagere South, and his son SS Mallikarjun has got the ticket from Davanagere North.
Veteran leader K H Muniyappa, the seven-time MP and former Union minister, has returned to state politics and has been fielded by the party from Devanahalli, while his daughter and sitting MLA from KGF, Roopakala M has once again got the ticket from the same segment.
Even though there were speculations about DK Suresh, the brother of state Congress chief and the only Congress MP from the state, would contest from the Ramanagaram constituency, the party announced Iqbal Hussian as the candidate.
The Congress has fielded Madhu Bangarappa, son of former chief minister late S Bangarappa in Sorab, where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to field his brother and sitting MLA Kumar Bangarappa.
Darshan Darshan Dhruvanarayana, son of Congress working president Dhruvanaryana, who passed away recently, has got the ticket from Nanjangud. Puttanna and U B Bankar, who recently crossed over to the BJP, have been fielded from Rajajinagar and Hirekerur respectively.
There are eight Muslim candidates in the first list and they are- U.T. Abdul Khader Ali Fareed (Mangalore), Tanveer Sait (Narasimharaja), N.A. Haris (Shanti Nagar), Rizwan Arshad (Shivajinagar), Rahim Khan (Bidar), Iqbal Hussain H A (Ramanagaram), B.Z. Zameer Ahmed Khan (Chamrajpet), and Kaneez Fatima (Gulbarga Uttar).
Six women have made it to the first list- Kaneez Fatima, Laxmi Ravindra Hebbalkar (Belgaum Rural), Dr Anjali Nimbalkar (Khanapur), Roopakala M (KGF), Kusuma H (Rajarajeshwarinagar), Sowmya R (Jayanagar).
Shivakumar said there is no dissent in the party after the announcement of the first list. Talking to reporters, he said, “There is no dissent with regard to 124 seats for which candidates have been announced. Things have been finalised after taking everyone into confidence. If at all, any crisis arises, we will sit and discuss to resolve it.”
“I want all 224 constituencies. All aspirants are my people. But, when there are 10 to 15 aspirants for one seat, tickets could be given to only one. The aim is to establish a Congress government at the Vidhana Soudha,” Shivakumar said.
Talking about allotting ticket to Siddaramaiah from Varuna, Shivakumar said: “Siddaramaiah has sought a ticket from Varuna. If he had asked for a ticket from Kolar constituency, we would have given it.”
CT Ravi, National General Secretary of Bharatiya Janata Party, said that Siddaramaiah knows that he is not safe in any seat in Karnataka. “As I have said, he knows he is not safe in any seats, so he has gone looking for various seats and eventually returned to Mysuru. BS Yediyurappa too had predicted this. Just like him (Siddaramaiah), even his party (Congress) is not safe in any seat,” he said.