Candidates list today? Siddaramaiah leaving nothing to chance

Bengaluru: Leaving nothing to chance before the final leg of selection of candidates, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah stretched every sinew to make sure that voices of dissent do not mar the prospects of the ruling party, reaching out to leaders of several districts in north Karnataka during the last 24 hours.   

The Chief Minister held back-to-back meetings with leaders of districts such as Ballari, Bidar and Belagavi to sort out differences between legislators and aspirants before emplaning for New Delhi to draw up the final list of candidates along with the top brass of the party. He put in extra efforts to pacify party loyalists in Ballari and Bidar who are upset with the induction of former minister Anand Singh and Nagendra along with their supporters, and Ashok Kheny, the latter an aspirant in Bidar (South) constituency.  n Continued from Page 1
In Ballari, the entry of Member of Parliament and former minister BJP minister B Sreeramulu evidently upset the calculations of Mr Siddaramaiah in terms of winnable seats and therefore he asked district in-charge minister Santosh Lad to make sure that the party secures all nine seats in the district.

In Bidar, he was evidently treading on rough turf with veteran leader M Mallikarjun Kharge and his supporters batting for late chief minister Dharam Singh’s son-in-law Mr Chandra Singh rather than allow new comer Mr Kheny to contest from Bidar (South).

In addition, in Belagavi, he addressed Jarkiholi brothers, Ramesh and Satish, and advised them to sink their differences or face the wrath of central leaders as the BJP could make the most of infighting to grab more seats in the border district.

Overall, he made sure that senior leaders would not have to waste time in mediating between warring factions or sorting out minor differences between local leaders but focus on a successful campaign strategy before polling on May 12, sources in the party told Deccan Chronicle.

With the party’s election committee scheduled to meet on Friday to announce the names of 130-150 candidates later in the evening or on Saturday, Mr Siddaramaiah was invited by local leaders of Bidar and Bagalkote to contest from Basavakalyan and Badami respectively. While he reportedly rejected the invitation to contest from Basavakalyan, he told his colleagues that he would take a call on Badami after consultations with central leaders in New Delhi on Friday.  

The entry of BJP MP, B. Sreeramulu into the poll scene seems to cause of concern for Mr Siddaramaiah. He held a meeting of Ballari leaders where he told district in charge minister, Santhosh Lad to ensure the victory of party candidates in nine seats. Highlighting the fact that he inducted Anand Singh and Nagendra much against the wishes of other leaders, Mr Siddaramaiah told the leaders to work for the victory of all those who joined the party recently. He felt that the contest should be tough to ensure that Mr Sreeramulu does not have an opportunity to campaign in other constituencies.

On Wednesday evening, Mr Siddaramaiah summoned Ramesh and Satish Jarkiholi and tried to assuage the feelings of the latter as he was dropped from the ministry. To make up for the loss of position, the party had made him AICC secretary, a fact which Mr Siddaramaiah reminded Mr Satish Jarkiholi as he instructed them to win all seats given to the family, and to counter the influence of Mr Sreeramulu who holds sway over voters belonging to the Scheduled Tribes.

The meeting with leaders from Bidar did not last long. When they invited Mr Siddaramaiah to contest from Basavakalyan, he reportedly turned down their invitation. He, however, had a tough task in convincing local leaders and securing their support for new comer Mr Ashok Kheny. With late CM Mr Dharam Singh’s  son-in-law, Chandra Singh, eyeing the ticket with the backing of Mr Mallikarjun Kharge, he tried his best to muster support for Mr Kheny.  

A delegation of Congress leaders met Mr Siddaramaiah and requested him to contest from Badami, a seat represented by B.B. Chimmanakatti, a fellow Kuruba leader. KPCC working president S.R. Patil and Mr Chimmanakatti said at the meeting that Mr Siddaramaiah’s entry would bolster the party’s prospects not only in Badami but in surrounding districts as well. Mr Siddaramaiah, however, said he would take a call after discussing the issue with central leaders.

Mr Sunil Bose, PWD minister, Dr H.C. Mahadevappa’s son, is reportedly upset with the party about hints that two tickets would not be given to his family. In the event of central leaders deciding to field only one of them,  then either Dr Maha devappa or Mr Bose has to contest from T. Narasipura constituency. On learning about this possibility, Mr Bose reportedly mounted pressure on his father and even suggested that he find a new constituency for himself. The upshot: Dr Mahadevappa rushed to meet Mr Siddaramaiah before his departure for Delhi.


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