Hegde likely Congress candidate for Udupi bypoll

The State Congress on Friday commenced the process of selecting its candidate for the bypoll to the Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok Sabha constituency.

Former minister K Jayaprakash Hegde has emerged as the front runner in the race for the ticket.

At a meeting of the Congress top brass in Bangalore, the names of former Union Minister D K Taradevi Siddartha, former MP Vinaykumar Sorake and former chairman of Legislative Council B L Shankar were also discussed.

The meeting was attended by Union Ministers S M Krishna, K H Muniyappa, KPCC President D Parameshwara, senior leaders Siddaramaiah, Motamma among others. A source in the party said Hegde’s candidature is likely to be endorsed in a couple of days and will be sent to the party central leadership for approval.

It was felt that Hegde’s candidature would be well received in the constituency as he had stayed back in the region and had continued to keep in touch with the people. The party will also be appointing top leaders as in charge in each of the eight assembly segments in the Lok Sabha constituency in the next few days. In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Sadananda Gowda had defeated Hegde by a margin of 27,018 votes.

Winning the bypoll will be a matter of prestige for the BJP as it has been necessitated with Gowda vacating the seat following his election to the Legislative Council.

On its part, the BJP is likely to chose between former Karkala MLA Sunil Kumar and Udupi district unit president Uday Kumar Shetty.

The names of  BJP Chikmagalur unit president M K Praneesh, Kundapur MLA Haladi Srinivas Shetty and K Keshava, an influential party functionary from the region, are also doing  the rounds. Speaking to reporters in Bangalore, Sadananda Gowda said, “After the Congress candidate is announced, the name of one of the candidates who have been short-listed will be selected.”

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