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Siddaramaiah files nomination for Karnataka assembly election from Chamundeshwari

Siddaramaiah could also contest from Badami as he says leaders in the northern districts have been pressurising him to do so. However, a final decision is yet to be made. 

Karnataka Elections 2018 Updated: Apr 21, 2018 08:00 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Siddaramaiah files nomination,Siddaramaiah,Siddaramaiah Chamundeshwari
Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah filed his nomination in Mysuru on Friday for the upcoming Karnataka assembly election.(PTI)

Ending days of speculation over whether he would contest just one seat or two, chief minister Siddaramaiah said on Friday that he would contest and win from both Chamundeshwari and Badami constituencies. Chamundeshwari is part of Mysuru district located in Southern Karnataka whereas Badami is in Bagalkot district of Northern Karnataka.

The Congress’s first list of 218 candidates for the May 12 polls had announced that Siddaramaiah would contest the Chamundeshwari seat in Mysuru district, having vacated the neighbouring Varuna seat for his son Yathindra. The party had also named Devraj Patil as its candidate from the Badami constituency in Bagalkot district. However, this was subsequently put on hold.

On Thursday, HT had reported how Congress was apprehensive of a secret pact between the BJP and JD(S) to defeat the chief minister in Chamundeshwari constitutency and was looking at preventing such a fallout.

Siddaramaiah, addressing a press conference in Mysuru on Friday before filing his nomination, said such a secret pact between the BJP and JD(S) to try to defeat him and his son was not new. The CMsaid such an understanding had been in place even in 2006, when he had contested a by-poll from Chamundeshwari after having joined the Congress from the Janata Dal (Secular). “This has been experimented once before. In 2006, BJP and JD(S) had come together when HD Kumaraswamy was chief minister and Yeddyurappa deputy chief minister. They had the might of the state government with them then but still couldn’t defeat me,” he added.

Stating that there was tremendous pressure on him from leaders in the northern districts to contest from there, he said he would contesting from Badami. “Our Bagalkot and Vijayapura district leaders have been pressuring me to contest from Badami, but I told the party high command that I will not. However, as they are pressurising me again, I have told them that I will convey their demands to the high command and will abide by its decision.”

Siddaramaiah also attacked the opposition for lacking a narrative to oppose the government. “Neither Prime Minister Narendra Modi, nor Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah or BS Yeddyurappa have spoken about development works. Modi says this is a 10% government, is there even an iota of evidence to support this?”

The chief minister also criticised Union minister Anatkumar Hegde, who had recently claimed that there was a conspiracy to kill him by the state government after a vehicle in his convoy met with an accident.

Siddaramaiah said Hegde could not have said publicly that the BJP wants to change the Constitution without Modi or Shah’s knowledge. “He is a minister in the central government, so if it was his personal opinion he should have been dismissed immediately,” he said, adding that this was the BJP’s hidden agenda.

The chief minister said the people had already made up their minds and, hence, the party would not need any star campaigners. “It doesn’t matter how many times Shah or Modi come here. We don’t need star campaigners, Rahul Gandhi will come and that’s enough because people have already decided.”

Speaking to HT, BR Patil, Congress candidate for Aland in Kalburagi district, said they wanted him to contest from the northern region to show the people that the Congress stands by its decision to recognise Lingayats as a separate religion. “It will send out a clear message and there is a lot of goodwill for the decision taken by Siddaramaiah,” Patil added.

The northern parts of the state have a high population of Lingayats, who are said to constitute 14% of the population although no formal source of data is available on this. Bagalkot district is also home to two Lingayat mutts, whose seers have openly backed Siddaramaiah for having fulfilled their demand, Mate Mahadevi of the Basava Dharma Peeta and Basava Jaya Mrutyunjaya of Kudalasangama Mutt.

Reacting to the development, Yeddyurappa said it was proof that Siddaramaiah was running scared. “The Congress’s panic moves on the ground bare the truth. Its General is desperately running for cover from one constituency to another. If the General isn't confident on his home turf, you can imagine the morale and confidence of his ranks. The writing is on the General’s face,” he tweeted.

First Published: Apr 20, 2018 19:46 IST