Siddaramaiah non-committal on tickets for women

Siddaramaiah non-committal on tickets for women

Former chief minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday remained non-committal on the number of women candidates the Congress will field from Karnataka.

“I cannot say we will give 33% to women, but we will accommodate as many as possible depending on the opinion elicited by the local party workers,” he said during an interaction organised by Deccan Herald and Prajavani.

He was replying to a query that with Biju Janata Dal announcing that the party will reserve 33% of the Lok Sabha seats in Odhisa to women and Trinamool Congress fielding women in 17 of the 42 seats West Bengal, whether the Congress will follow suit. “Replicating West Bengal in Karnataka is very difficult. BJD and TMC are regional parties and it is easier for them to take such decisions.”

He said higher representation to women will become a reality if there is a law. Women’s Reservation Bill which seeks to reserve one-third of all seats for women in the Lok Sabha and the state legislative assemblies has been pending in Parliament for the last 24 years.

Interestingly, AICC president Rahul Gandhi in Chennai on Wednesday said that his party will pass the bill if it comes to power.

To a question that several leaders in the Congress considered him Lok Sabha material, Siddaramaiah quipped, “I may be material for the Lok Sabha, but I will not contest. I am comfortable where I am.”

To a query on what will be his stand, if the Congress high command asks him to contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls, Siddaramaiah said, “Such a situation will not arise. Nor will I contest.”

On a section of Congress leaders repeatedly making statements at election rallies and conventions, that they would like to see him as chief minister once again, Siddaramaiah said, “They might have said that due to respect (for me).”

On whether he aspired to become chief minister again, Siddaramaiah said, “Let us see after the next Assembly polls.”

Former chief minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday said unemployment and farmers’ distress will be the two main poll issues which the Congress will take to the people, both the national and state level, during campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls.

Siddaramaiah, who is also a member of the CWC, said according to surveys, the unemployment rate in the country has gone up alarmingly during the last 40 years. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised to create two crore jobs every year but had failed. He said the party at its CWC meeting held in Ahmedabad on Tuesday decided to go aggressive against Modi government and also highlight the achievement of the UPA and Congress governments in various states.

He said Congress will win at least 150 seats in the Lok Sabha polls and its alliance partners in the UPA another 150.

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