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Why are these Karnataka ministers hesitant to contest LS polls?

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Senjo M R
March 17, 2024 12:42 IST
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The reluctance of some ministers and lawmakers in Karnataka to contest the Lok Sabha polls seems to have put the Congress scouting for 'winnable' candidates in a spot of bother in finalising contestants for the bulk of the seats.

IMAGE: Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge (centre) announces 4th and 5th guarantees 'Shramik Nyay' and 'Hissedari Nyay' during a press conference as state CM Siddaramaiah and his deputy DK Shivakumar (left) look on, in Bengaluru, March 16, 2024. Photograph: /

It has been ten days since the Congress announced its candidates for seven segments while the process to pick nominees for the remaining 21 seats is on.


The Congress' first list released on March eight did not have the names of any of the ministers and legislators.

According to party sources, the Congress leadership has been making efforts to convince some ministers and lawmakers to contest, as they have faced problems in identifying winnable candidates in several segments.

Senior Congress leader and home minister G Parameshwara had recently said there are discussions in the party to field seven to eight ministers.

Some ministers instead of themselves contesting, are said to be pushing for the candidature of their family members and, according to sources, the party leadership seem to be worried about the message it may send out if their kin are fielded.

It is now left for the Congress leadership including president Mallikarjun Kharge and party senior leader and MP Rahul Gandhi to take a call on the issue of fielding ministers or their family members, party sources said.

State Congress president and deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar on Saturday said the process of selecting candidates has come to a final stage.

"Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra has ended today (Saturday), tomorrow there is an INDIA bloc leaders public meeting, and on March 19 there is our meeting (to finalise candidates). On March 19 night or 20th morning, all our candidates will be announced," he said.

According to sources, the Congress is keen on fielding cabinet ministers HC Mahadevappa from Chamarajanagar, KH Muniyappa from Kolar, B Nagendra from Bellary, Satish Jarkiholi from Belgaum, Eshwar Khandre from Bidar, and Krishna Byre Gowda from Bangalore North.

Almost all these ministers are reluctant to fight the polls and some are said to have suggested the names of their family members, with assurances that they will ensure their victory.

Gowda is said to have told the party leadership that he doesn't want to contest. He lost from Bangalore North in 2019 and in 2009, from Bangalore South.

Mahadevappa is said to be insisting on Chamarajanagar ticket for his son Sunil Bose.

Parameshwara, who was earlier the party state unit president, had recently said, "He (Mahadevappa) is saying that he doesn't want to contest and the ticket be given to his son. Party will ultimately decide whether it will be Mahadevappa or his son or someone else. He cannot be pressured if he doesn't want to (contest)."

Another senior minister Muniyappa, a seven-time MP and a former central minister, who returned to state politics after losing 2019 Lok Sabha polls, is said to have pitched his son-in-law Shashidhar J E for the Kolar seat.

Similarly, names of Satish Jarkiholi's daughter Priyanka Jarkiholi for Chikkodi, Laxmi Hebbalkar's son Mrinal Hebbalkar for Belgaum, Nagendra's brother Venkatesh Prasad for Bellary, and Eshwar Khandre's son Sagar Khandre for Bidar, are doing rounds.

The Congress had initially tasked ministers with identifying potential candidates but Shivakumar had said that reports received were not satisfactory.

He had also said that the party has decided to commission one more survey to identify winnable candidates.

A Congress leader said having faced a rout in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls which saw the defeat of several top leaders -- including M Mallikarjun Kharge, Veerappa Moily, and Muniyappa -- despite the party being in power in the state in alliance with Janata Dal-Secular, many senior leaders don't want to enter the fray, as the outfit's prospects at the national level still don't look promising.

The Congress' performance in this election is another key test of sorts for Shivakumar, who has made no secret of his ambition to become chief minister, amid speculations of change in guard mid-way of the assembly term.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has already announced its candidates for 20 seats. It is yet to make an announcement for eight seats out of which three -- Mandya, Hassan and Kolar -- are likely to go into the kitty of its alliance partner JD-S.

Karnataka has a total of 28 Lok Sabha constituencies. The BJP won 25 seats in the 2019 general elections, while an independent backed by the party had also emerged victorious.

The Congress and JD-S, which were running a coalition government back then and fought the elections together, secured one seat each.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Senjo M R© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
India Votes 2024

India Votes 2024