Badami or no, Siddu keeps opposition, voters guessing

MYSURU: Badami! Two days after he claimed that he never proposed to contest from two constituencies despite pressure from people of north Karnataka,  Chief Minister Siddaramaiah made an equally ambiguous statement on Wednesday that a decision on the candidate for Badami would be taken after another round of discussions with the top brass of the ruling Congress. 

Speculation is rife that the CM could keep BJP and his detractors on tenterhooks by delaying the announcement of whether he will stand from the Kuruba-Lingayat dominated constituency till Monday, the last day of filing nominations. Sources close to the CM say that the BJP will project the CM's two seat plan a sign of weakness and nervousness. However, there is little question that while Chamundeshwari may be a challenge, Badami could be a cakewalk. 

With leaders of BJP deciding to delay an announcement of the third list candidates, and large-scale dissent mirroring the fact that his party had bungled on selection of candidates, Mr Siddaramaiah felt a wait-and-watch strategy would help him decide about entering the fray in Badami as well.

He, however, told the media on Wednesday: "There has been pressure on me from north Karnataka to contest from Badami too, but I have made it clear to the high command that I do not want to contest from two constituencies.

However a decision on the candidate for Badami has been kept on hold. We will do one more round of assessment, discuss and decide," he told reporters here.

On whether legislator B B  Chimmankatti would be fielded again from Badami, he elaborated, "Leaders from north Karnataka including Badami, like S R Patil, G T Patil and Chimmankatti's son visited me Tuesday evening and said that when there were so many aspirants for the ticket, if I contested it would be helpful for north Karnataka." 

On disgruntled legislators meeting him, he said, "Only the MLAs from Hanagal and Byadagi in Haveri district, who have not been given a ticket are a little upset. They met me last night. Except for those two and Jaglur MLA, there has not been any problem from any other sitting MLA."    

In response to Mysuru Kodagu MP , Pratap Simha's tweet accusing him of conspiring to murder Union minister, Ananth Kumar Hegde, he remarked "It shows their mean, criminal mentality and nasty thinking.  The BJP means this. It is a party of criminals, some, not all. One should not think in this criminal fashion. Accidents do happen for various reasons, including negligence or overspeeding." 

On  Mr Simha's claim that he had tried to do away with the Union Minister as he was a "Hindu huli (tiger)" Mr Siddaramaiah said, "I am a better Hindu than Mr Pratap Simha and Mr Ananth Kumar Hegde. I am a Hindu with secular credentials and he is a communal Hindu. That is the difference." 

On the short film made by Mr B Y Vijayendra, son of state BJP chief, B S Yeddyurappa, on the infrastructure problems of Varuna village and his tweet that Mr Siddaramaiah had not taken care of his own constituency, the Chief Minister retorted, "Who is he in Varuna? Such questions, don't deserve to be answered."  

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