Hot race for Cong ticket in 6 seats

Hot race for Cong ticket in 6 seats

Leaders weighing various options in selecting candidates

The Congress is facing an uphill task in selecting candidates for six constituencies of Belgaum, Chikkodi, Shimoga, Uttara Kannada, Tumkur and Bangalore Central to contest the coming Lok Sabha polls.

Party leaders are weighing caste combinations, pressure from influential leaders and father-son factor in selecting candidates. So much so that the AICC screening committee headed by Vayalar Ravi is understood to have not been able to finalise candidates for these seats. The panel had met recently in Delhi.

Belgaum district party chief Lakshmi Hebbalkar, Anjali Nimbaklar, wife of IPS officer Hemanth Nimbalkar and Dr Sadhunavar, KLE society director, are among aspirants for Belgaum. While Lakshmi is said to have the backing of influential Cabinet ministers of the State, Anjali is said to be backed by influential politicians from Maharastra. Both have Marathi background, which is considered a plus point in the constituency which has a good chunk of Marathi-speaking population.

In the neighbouring Chikkodi, the party has to choose between Sugar Minister Prakash Hukkeri, his son Ganesh Hukkeri, Omprakash Kanagali, son of late party leader Shankaranand and former legislator A B Patil. Though Lingayats are the dominant community in both the constituencies, it is argued that a backward classes leader should be fielded from one of them.

In Uttara Kannada, two senior leaders – Higher Education minister R V Deshpande and Margaret Alva – are vying with each other to get ticket for their sons (Prashant Deshpande and Nevedit Alva). Senior party leader B K Hariprasad too is an aspirant for the seat. The constituency is said to be connected to Bangalore Central: If Alva, who is a Christian, gets the ticket, then the party is unlikely to field a Christian from Bangalore Central. Jaffer Sharief, Rizwan Arshad, J Alexander and H T Sangliana are the aspirants for Bangalore Central.

Idiga leader for Shimoga

In Shimoga, the party is scouting for a powerful Idiga community leader who could take on BJP’s B S Yeddyurappa. The party leaders are said to be mounting pressure on Legislative Assembly Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa to contest. But the octogenarian leader is learnt to have refused the offer. The next option is said to be Kumar Bangarappa. But it is feared that differences between Kumar Bangarappa and his brother and JD(S) leader Madhu Bangarappa would prove to be disadvantageous to the party. The party is also said to be considering fielding Primary and Secondary Education Minister Kimmane Ratnakara. 

Like Uttara Kannada, two senior leaders – Law Minister T B Jayachandra and K N Rajanna – are trying to get the ticket for their sons for Tumkur constituency (R Santosh Jayachandra and R Rajendra). Senior leader Muddahanume Gowda, who recently joined the Congress after quitting the JD(S), is also seeking the ticket.

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