The Congress on Sunday released list of 11 candidates for the upcoming Karnataka Assembly elections. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will be contesting from Badami seat from where the party had earlier given ticket to Dr Devraj Patil. Siddaramaiah is also contesting the May 12 elections from Chamundeshwari seat.
Siddaramaiah has won five times and tasted defeat twice in Chamundeshwari. He has been representing Varuna constituency in Mysuru since 2008, which has now been allotted to his son Yatindra. The latest list of Congress candidates also mentions the name of KP Chandrakala who will be contesting from Madikeri seat. Interestingly, Chandrakala has replaced HS Chandra Mouli, who reportedly represented PNB Scam mastermind Nirav Modi’s uncle Mehul Choksi in court. The BJP has been attacking the Congress over Mouli's candidature.The saffron party had also alleged that the tainted businessman enjoyed "patronage" of Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
Commenting on the party's decision to field CM Siddaramaiah from two seats, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters that even Narendra Modi contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from two (Vadodara and Varanasi) constituencies.
INC COMMUNIQUE— INC Sandesh (@INCSandesh) April 22, 2018
Announcement of the final list of candidates for the ensuing elections to the Legislative Assembly of Karnataka. pic.twitter.com/P8fxkIN2AP
"Modi ji also contested election from two seats. He (Siddaramaiah) is contesting election from the two constituencies (Chamundeshwari and Badami) under directions by Party's High Command," Kharge said.
Congress workers had staged protests and even vandalised party offices at several places after the party released its list of candidates last week. However, senior party leader M Veerappa Moily said the protests were an indicator that the party was going to retain power in the state.
The former Karnataka chief minister brushed aside protests across parts of Karnataka by supporters of ticket seekers who had failed to make it to the list.
"They (ticket-seekers) have strong aspirations that is why for the time being they will do it (protest), but ultimately they will realise..." Moily, 78, said.
Asked if infighting could hamper Congress's chances in the Assembly polls, he said Siddaramaiah was the only Karnataka chief minister in recent times to have provided a stable government for five years.
"There was no internal fight during these five years and there will not be an internal fight in the future also, he said.
The two-time MP from Chikballapur also asserted that the party's state leadership was "totally united".
Media reports had earlier suggested party veterans from the state such as Moily, Mallikarjun Kharge and KPCC chief G Parameshwara were in favour of giving tickets to long-time party workers instead of those who had switched sides.
However, the chief minister seems to have had his way in the selection of candidates, with many party hoppers being given tickets. Results for Karnataka Assembly elections will be declared on May 15.
(With inputs from agencies)