Karnataka Kurukhetra: Cong releases first list of 218 candidates

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Bengaluru: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will not contest from Badami assembly constituency in the upcoming assembly elections, after all, despite heavy lobbying and much speculation. Siddaramaiah, like all other Congress candidates, will contest from just one seat — Chamundeshwari.

The All India Congress Committee (AICC) on Sunday evening released its first list of 218 candidates. The fate of MLA N A Haris remains undecided with the party withholding the names of candidates for five seats including Shantinagar. The party has decided to support Darshan Puttannaiah, son of deceased former MLA and farmer leader K S Puttannaiah, from Melukote.

The wait has got longer for Shantinagar MLA Haris who landed in a controversy after his son Mohammed Nalapad Haris was arrested in an assault case earlier this year. While the name of Rizwan Arshad was doing the rounds for the seat that has turned contentious, Congress has decided to wait and watch. The candidate for Shantinagar seat is likely to be announced this week along with the four others.

Despite the war of words between the Siddaramaiah and Mallikarjun Kharge camps during the discussion on tickets, the party high command seems to have managed to strike a balance.

The Congress high command seems to have managed to strike a balance despite the war of words between the Siddaramaiah and Mallikarjun Kharge camps during the discussion on tickets. The list of 218 candidates includes 102 incumbent MLAs.

Those facing anti-incumbency in their constituencies, according to internal surveys, and those who lost out on the winnability factor to party-hoppers have been denied tickets. Congress has accommodated 11 party hoppers including former JD(S) MLA Zameer Ahmed and ex-BJP MLA Anand Singh.

Despite heavy lobbying by supporters of Siddaramaiah, the Congress’ Central Election Committee has yielded to pressure from leaders like Kharge in not allowing Siddaramaiah to contest from two seats. Siddarmaiah will now contest from the challenging Chamundeshwari seat where JD(S)’ G T Devegowda is a strong contender. It was not all lost for Siddaramaiah with the party yielding to his demand for accommodating new entrants, especially from JD(S). It was sweet victory for Siddaramaiah in Pulakeshinagar as Akhanda Srinivas Murthy, a former JD(S) man, whom Siddaramaiah heavily backed, got a ticket trumping native Congressman Prasanna Kumar.

While Congress has retained 102 of its sitting MLAs, it has given out seats to 11 party-hoppers. M Y Patil from Afzalpur, Ashok Kheny from Bidar South, Iqbal Ansari from Gangavati, Bhima Nayak from Hagaribommanahalli, former BJP MLA and accused in illegal mining scam Anand Singh from Vijayanagara, former JD(S) MLAs B Nagendra from Ballari (ST), Akhanda Srinivas Murthy from Pulakeshinagar, Zameer Ahmed from Chamrajpet, HC Balakrishna from Magadi, Ramesh Bandisiddegowda from Srirangapatna and Cheluvarayaswamy from Nagamangala will contest on Congress tickets.

Kin of 7 leaders debut: After tasting success with Geetha Mahadevprasad’s candidature in the Gundlupet bypolls, Congress seems confident of accommodating kin of its other leaders. K Fathima, wife of former minister Qamarul Islam will contest from Kalaburagi North. Santosh Jayachandra, son of Law Minister T B Jayachandra, has been given a ticket from Chikkanayakanahalli while Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy’s daughter Soumya Reddy will contest from Jayanagar constituency. Former Union Minister K H Muniyappa’s daughter Roopa Sasidhar will contest from KGF while Keerthana Rudregowda, daughter of Y N Rudresh Gowda, has been given a ticket from Belur. G Ramakrishna’s son Vijaya Kumar will contest from Kalaburagi Rural (SC) seat.

Varuna seat will see Yathindra Siddaramaiah contesting for the first time. Out of the total 218 candidates announced, 15 seats have been given to women including chief of State Mahila Congress wing Laxmi Hebbalkar, senior leaders Umashree and Motamma. Current BBMP Mayor Sampathraj and former Mayor G Padmavati will contest from C V Rama Nagar (SC) and Rajajinagar, respectively.

Biggies like KPCC president G Parameshwara, M H Ambareesh, Ramesh and Satish Jarkiholi, M B Patil, Priyank Kharge, Santosh Lad, R V Deshpande, K B Koliwad, H Anjaneya, Shamanur Shivashankarappa, Pramod Madhwaraj, T B Jayachandra, Krishna Byregowda, K J George, Dinesh Gundu Rao, have been retained in their strongholds.

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