Lok Sabha bypoll: Cong fails to reach consensus

Lok Sabha bypoll: Cong fails to reach consensus

KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao greets Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara and former chief minister Siddaramaiah at the KPCC office in Bengaluru on Tuesday. (From left) KPCC working president Eshwar Khandre, Rural Development, Law and Parliamentary Affa

The Congress on Tuesday failed to break the ice on finalising candidates for the Lok Sabha bypoll for the Bellary and Shimoga seats.

AICC general secretary incharge of Karnataka K C Venugopal, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Dinesh Gundu Rao chaired day-long meetings to discuss the Bellary and Shimoga seats. According to sources, the party was not able to zero in on a strong candidate for Bellary. While leaders discussed fielding Bellary MLA B Nagendra’s brother Venkatesh Prasad, the meeting was later deferred and shifted to the residence of Ballari district incharge minister D K Shivakumar where he held talks with the local leaders.

The deadlock spilled over to the Shimoga seat, where the party leaders were not able to arrive at a consensus, despite a prolonged discussion. Some suggested that former minister Kagodu Thimmappa be fielded. It is learnt that he rejected it citing health reasons. Apparently, Bhadravati legislator B K Sangameshwar’s name also cropped up due to the Lingayat factor in the Shimoga seat. He, too, rejected the idea. While former minister Kimmane Rathnakar is likely to get the ticket, former Command Area Development Authority chairman H S Sundaresh is also a contender.

When the Mandya bypoll came up for discussion, a section of leaders made a pitch to fight the bypoll there against the JD(S). They argued, sources said, that the JD(S) was already eating into the Congress’ presence in Mandya and that the party workers were disgruntled.

“We’re not against the Congress-JD(S) coalition, but we have told the leadership on the inequity that exists. There are candidates who are interested to contest the bypoll and we will work for anybody the party chooses to field,” former Nagamangala legislator N Cheluvarayaswamy told reporters.

It was finalised that Anand Nyamagouda will be the Congress’ candidate for the Jamkhandi Assembly constituency bypoll. Anand is the son of the late Siddu Nyamagouda, the Jamkhandi MLA, who died in a road accident weeks after he won the May 12 Assembly poll. “I will file my nomination on October 16. I’m confident of winning regardless of who the opponent is. My father’s good work will protect me,” he said.