DK Shivakumar-Jarkiholi tussle delays Ballari Congress pick

Ballari: The Congress party has still not been able to decide on a candidate for the Ballari Lok Sabha byelection as the Jarkiholi brothers and minister, D K Shivakumar are reportedly still at war with each other.  

The Congress’s decision to entrust Mr Shivakumar, who is minister in-charge of Ballari, with the responsibility of ensuring its victory in the constituency, has reportedly not gone down well with party MLAs loyal to the Jarkiholis. Going by sources,  scheduled tribe MLAs, who are staunch loyalists of the brothers, are unhappy with the party giving the responsibility of selecting a ST candidate for the constituency, which is reserved for the community, to Mr Shivakumar,  a Vokkaliga.

Making no bones about their opposition they have boycotted the meetings called by him to discuss the selection of a candidate for the November 3 bypoll. It has now been reportedly left to former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to broker peace between the two warring groups and finalise the party candidate.

Of the six Congress legislators, Mr Tukaram, Mr Nagendra and Mr JN Ganesh represent ST reserved constituencies and Mr PT Parameshwar Naik and Mr Bhima Naik represent SC reserved constituencies.

Meanwhile, the BJP has finalised its candidate for the Lok Sabha seat in Ballari in consultation with its senior leader, B Sriramulu, who stepped down as the MP from the constituency after his election to the state assembly earlier this year. Following a closed-door meeting  Tuesday evening, he has reportedly nominated his sister, J Shanta for the bypoll. Although Mr T Suresh Babu, a close relative of the former MP, was in the running, his candidature fell through, according to sources.

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