The choice of candidates makes it evident that Opposition leader in the Assembly Siddaramaiah has had his way in the selection process.
Bengaluru: With the December 5 Assembly bypolls to 15 constituencies just over a month away, the Opposition Congress on Thursday declared its candidates for eight of these seats in what seems to be an attempt to steal an edge over the ruling BJP, which is yet to declare its candidates.
The Congress choices include former Assembly Speaker K.B. Koliwad, who in a shock deafeat, lost to independent MLA R. Shankar in Ranenbennur constituency in the May 2018 polls. Shankar was subsequently disqualified from the Assembly after he decided to support the BJP and his prospects of entering the fray this time depend on the Supreme Court verdict in the disqualified MLAs’ case.
The choice of candidates makes it evident that Opposition leader in the Assembly Siddaramaiah has had his way in the selection process. Sources claimed that the candidates were selected without even discussing the names in State Election Committee meeting.
The candidates’ list has also raised eyebrows in Congress circles for other reasons. Sources said that M. Anjanappa who has been selected for the Chikkaballapur seat, is still with the JD(S) and has not joined the Congress officially.
Mr M. Shivaraj, a Kuruba, is the Congress candidate for Mahalakshmi Layout where Vokkaligas dominate and it remains to be seen if he will be able to make a dent in the constituency where the popular Gopalaiaih is likely to contest if the top court sets aside his disqualification. Another surprise choice is Padmavathi Suresh for the Hosakote seat though she is reportedly not even a party member. And those familiar with the trends in Uttara Kannada district politics will agree that the Congress should have found a better candidate than Bhimanna Naik for the Yallapur seat as he is hardly connected with the constituency.
The selection of candidates for seven constituencies including Shivajinagar is pending with sources claiming that the party was not able to do this due to stiff competition for the tickets.
The eight candidates and their constituencies are as follows: Yellapur—Bhimanna Naik; Hirekerur—B.H. Bannikod; Ranibennur—K.B. Koliwad; Chikkaballapur—M. Anjanappa; K.R. Puram—M. Narayanaswamy; Mahalakshmi Layout—M. Shivaraj; Hosakote—Padmavathi Suresh and Hunsur—H.P. Manjunath.