No rift, will pick winnable candidate for Ballari: DK Shivakumar

Bengaluru: Ballari district in-charge minister D. K. Shivakumar on Friday tried to downplay confusion in the Congress over selection of a candidate for the byelection to the Lok Sabha from Ballari constituency, saying it would be settled amicably soon.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting with party leaders led by Congress Legislature Party chief Siddaramaiah here, Mr Shivakumar said, “Everyone is aware that the Congress party always has a problem of plenty and it is the same with the selection of a candidate for Ballari. We have around 11 to 13 aspirants for the ticket.  The party will amicably settle the issue and pick a winnable candidate.”

In response to a question, Mr Shivakumar snapped that there was no confusion in the party over the selection of a candidate for Ballari. “This is a media creation. We know what we are dealing with. Some things don’t have to be discussed in public,” he retorted.

Mr Shivakumar claimed the party’s legislators from Ballari had agreed to work unitedly for the victory of the Congress in the bypoll irrespective of the candidate. “We have six legislators in Ballari and so can easily win the seat if all of them work unitedly,” he contended.

But the minister appeared to be putting up a brave front as although he had called a meeting with Congress MLAs from Ballari district at his home on Wednesday to arrive at an amicable solution to the issue, many of the legislators failing to turn up. On Friday, it was the turn of  former Chief Minister, Siddarmaiah  to convene a meeting and this was more successful as except the sulking Ballari mining strongman, Anil Lad, all the other MLAs attended the meeting. Whether this has resolved matters remains to be seen.

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