Congress faces rush for bypoll tickets

Congress faces rush for bypoll tickets

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Dinesh Gundu Rao

The Congress on Wednesday held one-on-one meeting with leaders aspiring to contest the crucial October 21 bypolls, even as the party is grappling to deal with hectic lobbying for the tickets. 

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Dinesh Gundu Rao and his deputy Eshwar Khandre met aspirants from 11 out of the 15 Assembly constituencies where the bypolls will be held. The party leaders met aspirants from the remaining four constituencies on Tuesday. 

Notably, the party leadership was urged not to field MLC Rizwan Arshad from the Shivajinagar Assembly constituency. Arshad, an aspirant, is already an MLC and had unsuccessfully contested two Lok Sabha polls from the Bangalore Central segment, local leaders argued. There is also a call within the party to field a Hindu candidate from Shivajinagar. 

On his part, Arshad told reporters that the party’s goal was to win the Shivajinagar bypoll that was the result of the disqualification of rebel Congress legislator R Roshan Baig. “We must defeat those who cheated the party. So, we will work for whoever the party chooses to field,” he said. 

The party is faced with a rush of aspirants seeking tickets for the bypolls. In fact, in some constituencies, there are nearly half-a-dozen aspirants to choose from. 

AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka K C Venugopal arrived in the city late on Wednesday evening. He is slated to participate in the party’s state election committee where the party will screen the ticket aspirants on Thursday. 

Rao, speaking to reporters, denied speculation that the Congress was looking to lure disgruntled leaders of the BJP. “We don’t have any such intention. Only those who are loyal to the party and winnable will get the tickets,” he said, adding that the party had not reached out to BJP’s Sharath Bachegowda of Hoskote or Nandeesh Reddy of KR Puram.