Bengaluru: The big surprise for all in the Congress list of candidates was with regard to Karnataka Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah. The Congress put to rest all speculation that the CM would be contesting two seats-Chamundeshwari and Badami. He will now contest from Chamundeshwari only while his son would battle it from the neighbouring Varuna.
After the list was released, Siddaramaiah tried to clear the air by saying that there was a demand from his followers to contest from Badami. However he had always stuck to Chamundeshwari.
However those privy to the Central Election Committee meeting said that this was one of the major issues that had led to the delay in releasing the list. A source informed newsroompost.com that the matter had come up on Friday,Saturday and on Sunday as well.
Siddaramaiah was keen on contesting from both seats. However senior leaders such as Mallikarjuna Kharge and Veerappa Moily shot down the proposal. This had led to heated arguments with some of the leaders even storming out on Friday.
The matter was once again discussed on Saturday and the same heated arguments were witnessed once again. Towards the afternoon, sources close to Siddaramaiah informed some members of the press that his candidature for both the constituencies had been cleared. The confirmation of the same came from his son, Dr Yathindra as well.
However on Sunday everything changed by evening with the top brass of the Congress putting their foot down. Rahul Gandhi told Siddaramaiah if a CM candidate contests from two seats, then the battle is already lost before it has begun. It would convey a very wrong message to the voter and will give the impression that you are shaky and hence are seeking a safe seat, Rahul Gandhi also said.
Siddaramaiah however tried to argue his point and even tried to tell the high command that his presence in Badami would bolster the party’s chances in north Karnataka which is a strong BJP bastion. The high command however did not buy this argument.
When Siddaramaiah realised that his arguments were gaining no traction, he used it as a bargaining tool to push through most of his candidates into the list. The likes of Ashok Kheny and the 8 JD(S) rebels who joined the party were all opposed to by the high command. The candidature of the mining scam accused Anand Singh was also opposed. However Siddaramaiah ensured that each of these persons made it to the list.