Cong wants 3 ministers, Speaker to contest polls

Kagodu reluctant, party making efforts to persuade him

Assembly Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa is understood to have refused to contest the coming Lok Sabha elections from Shimoga, where the Congress is finding it difficult to find a strong candidate. The BJP is likely to field former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa.

The Congress had been making efforts to persuade Kagodu to be the party’s candidate. But he had not shown interest. The AICC screening committee, which recently met in Delhi, too had discussed the possibility of Kagodu contesting from the constituency. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and KPCC chief G Parameshwara were asked to make another effort to persuade Kagodu.

The octogenarian leader, who belongs to the dominant Idiga community, has considerable clout in Shimoga. Yeddyurappa is a Lingayat. Party sources said that efforts are still on to convince Kagodu. Kumar Bangarappa, Manjunath Bandari and H S Sundaresh are aspiring to contest from the constituency.

This apart, the Congress is said to be planning to field at least three ministers – Prakash Hukkeri, Krishna Byre Gowda and H Anjaneya – in the elections. But Gowda and Anjaneya are said to be reluctant. The party bosses in Delhi are learnt to have summoned Anjaneya to Delhi to convince him to contest from Chitradurga.

When contacted by this paper, the social welfare minister said the party had not asked him to contest from Chitradurga. “I was in Delhi to attend an official meeting. I have made it clear to the party long ago that I am not interested in Delhi politics. I will ensure the victory of the party candidate in Chitradurga,” he said.

Sources said Gowda would be the party’s choice if the internal elections are not held to select the candidate for Bangalore North constituency. Gowda has already informed the State leaders that he is not interested in contesting the coming elections, sources added.

The party had fielded him against Ananth Kumar of the BJP in the 2009 parliamentary elections from Bangalore South, but he had lost. The Congress has decided to field Nandan Nilekani in Bangalore South in the coming polls.

The screening committee headed by Vayalar Ravi had recently cleared a list of candidates for 13 constituencies, including nine sitting MPs and Nilekani. The panel has not been able to finalise names for the remaining 15 constituencies.

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