Cong confident of winning LS bypolls

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Saturday said his government and the Congress party were ready to face the byelections to the Mandya and Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha (LS) constituencies.

He was speaking to reporters in the city, after receiving a cheque for Rs 10 lakh presented by cine star Shivarajkumar towards the Uttarakhand relief works.

The chief minister said party vice-president Rahul Gandhi had called a meeting in New Delhi on July 25 to discuss the byelections and the probable candidates. This will be the first election to be faced by the Congress after coming to power.

The Election Commission (EC) has announced that the byelections will be conducted on August 21 and the results will be announced on August 24. The elections have been necessitated as H D Kumaraswamy and N Cheluvarayaswamy (both JD-S) quit as Bangalore Rural and Mandya MPs respectively, after getting elected as MLAs in May. KPCC president G Parameshwara has said the Congress is confident of winning the two seats.

When reporters pointed out that the two LS seats were in the JD(S) bastions and whether the Congress was not ‘concerned’ of losing and setting a trend for the 2014 elections, he retorted: “Defeat? For whom? Them?”

He said the party was working with all seriousness and would name the candidates for the two seats in the coming days. Cheluvarayaswamy, who was the MP from Mandya, said the JD(S) candidates to be fielded for the byelections would be the candidates for next year’s elections too.

He said, “Whoever gets elected will be in office for a maximum of six months. In the interest of the public, the byelections could have been avoided by the EC as the elections are due next year. It is unfortunate that Parliament and Rashtrapati Bhavan are silent on this. The Constitution should be amended to avoid elections which give very short period for members.”

Chaluvarayaswamy, however, said that the party would take the elections seriously and scout for suitable candidates as the party was serious about retaining the seats.

The fight will be between the JD(S) and the Congress in Mandya, while the BJP too will be in picture in Bangalore Rural as parts of Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Bangalore South and Anekal Assembly constituencies come under it, he pointed out.

He said the party was yet to select candidates. Party president H D Deve Gowda has convened a meeting of Mandya leaders to discuss the polls, on Monday evening, he added.

Sources in the Congress said the name of former speaker Krishna (popularly known as KR Pet Krishna) was being considered for Mandya, while L R Shivarame Gowda and Suresh Gowda too are aspirants. For Bangalore Rural, the names of MLA D K Shivakumar and former MP Tejaswini Gowda are doing rounds.

In 2009, H D Kumaraswamy had won from Bangalore Rural by securing 44.73 per cent of the total votes polled, while C P Yogeeshwara as the BJP candidate had stood in the second position by securing 32.92 pc of the total votes. Tejaswini Gowda was in the third position (vote share-17.48 pc).

In Mandya, Cheluvarayaswamy had secured 37.26 pc of the total votes polled and M H Ambareesh 34.99 pc, as the Congress nominee. L R Shivarame Gowda as the BJP candidate could get 14.04 pc of the total votes polled.

Siddu meets Vora

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah met former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Motilal Vora at the Raj Bhavan on Saturday.  Home Minister K J George accompanied him, sources said.

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