Tough task ahead for Cong as bigwigs race for tickets

The Congress in Karnataka has an uphill task in selecting its candidates for the crucial 2014 Lok Sabha elections with too many aspirants, most of whom are political heavyweights, vying with each other to get the party ticket.

A large number of senior party leaders are seeking the tickets either for themselves or for their children and relatives. Besides, there is pressure from the youth and womens wings of the party to accommodate as many youngsters and women as possible.

C K Jaffer Sharief, B K Hariprasad, H T Sangliana, Manjunath Kunnur, Prema Cariappa, Kumar Bangarappa (for themselves), T B Jayachandra, R V Deshpande, Shamanur Shivashankarappa, Margaret Alva and S M Krishna (for their family members) are lobbying for the tickets. Competition is so intense that the dissident activities are likely to erupt in the party as the elections get closer. 

Apparently, the KPCC election committee, which met recently, could not initiate discussion on the candidates’ selection. Instead, the panel members comprising senior party leaders only laid down certain guidelines for the selection. 

The State Congress, which is on a high following its victory in the Assembly elections held in May this year, is aiming at bagging at least 20 of the total 28 seats. In 2009 polls, the BJP had won 19, the Congress six and the JD(S) three. 

Bangalore South, Bangalore North, Bangalore Central, Mandya, Uttara Kannada, Belgaum, Tumkur and Mangalore are among the constituencies which are in high demand. Sharief, Sangliana and Prema Cariappa, State Youth Congress president Rizwan Arshad are aspirants for Bangalore Central. B K Hariprasad, G C Chandrashekar and Ramesh G Gowda (relative of S M Krishna) and others want the ticket from Bangalore North.

Bangalore south

For Bangalore South, the party leadership in Delhi, especially those close to party vice president Rahul Gandhi, is said to be keen on fielding UIDAI chairperson Nandan Nilekani. However, so far Nilekani has not expressed his mind, at least in public. But the State leaders are said to be reluctant to field him. Senior leaders in the State Congress, who refused to be quoted, are of the view that it will be difficult for the IT czar to take on sitting BJP MP Ananth Kumar. Names of Prof Rajiv Gowda and businessman U B Venkatesh are also making rounds for the constituency. 

Prashant Deshpande (son of R V Deshpande) and Nivedit Alva (son of Margrate Alva) have sought the ticket to contest from Uttara Kannada. The party is likely to field all the sitting MPs. However, it is said that senior leader N Dharam Singh, who is sitting MP from Bidar, may not contest on health grounds. 

Senior Cabinet ministers T B Jayachandra learnt to have sought the ticket for his son Santosh Jayachandra from Tumkur, while Shamanur Shivashankarappa wants his son S S Mallikharjun to be the party candidate from Davanagere. Kumar Bangarappa, son of former chief minister S Bangarappa, wants the party to field him from Shimoga, sources said.

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