'Lightweights' in the fray for B'lore North Cong primary

'Lightweights' in the fray for B'lore North Cong primary

First-of-its-kind exercise draws aspirants in hordes

With senior Congress leaders shying away from contesting primaries (internal election), the party on Friday is left with either second-rung or lesser-known leaders to take on the might of former chief minister D V Sadananda Gowda in Bangalore North constituency.

Former MP C Narayanaswamy, former MLA N L Narendra Babu, IIM-B professor M V Rajeev Gowda and G C Chandrashekar, political secretary to KPCC chief, are the four candidates in the fray. The polling is scheduled for March 13. This is the first time such electoral process is being adopted to select a candidate in Bangalore. The party has already completed the internal elections for selecting a candidate for Dakshina Kannada and the results will be out on March 9. 

Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda did not file the nomination papers despite much efforts from the State party leaders to convince him to contest. Senior party leader B L Shankar, who is said to be unhappy with the way the internal election is being conducted, too, kept off the contest. Shankar was one of the candidates the KPCC election committee had recommended to the party high command.

Nomination papers of another aspirant, Arathi Krishna, former official of Indian embassy in the US, are kept pending as she had applied under public service/social cause category. Her papers have to be cleared by the AICC in charge of primaries in Karnataka. If the AICC feels that she has fulfilled all the criteria to fit into social cause category, then her nomination will be accepted. She is the daughter of former minister Begana Ramaiah, who is a resident of Bangalore. 

Surprisingly, the Congress leaders did not make much effort to bring a strong candidate into the fray. One of these candidates will be taking on Sadananda Gowda in the coming Lok Sabha elections. Already, there are murmurs in the Congress circles about whether the party would be able to take on the might of Sadananda Gowda in the absence of a strong candidate.

Altogether eight candidates had filed nominations on Friday. Nomination papers of former IPS officer K C Ramamurthy, Kengal Sreepada Renu, grandson of late chief minister Kengal Hanumanthaiah, and Nehaa S Patil were rejected by the authorities in charge of primaries on technical grounds. 

However, objections to the nominations can be filed till (till 1 pm on Saturday). Symbols will be allocated to the candidates on March 9 after the disposal of objections, if any, according to a press release from the election authorities.

Dissatisfaction

When contacted, Shankar said he welcomes the decision to conduct primaries. “But the seriousness with which the party has undertaken the initiative is not reflected by persons who matter. Hence there was a crowd of contestants. So I decided to keep off.” He said that his application was set aside on the grounds that he was not a party functionary, but just an ordinary member. 

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