Rahul to take final call on Bellary bypoll candidate

The Congress will announce its candidate for the Bellary Lok Sabha bypoll after holding a discussion with All India Congress Committee (AICC) president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Dinesh Gundu Rao said.

The party has been struggling to zero in on a strong contender for the ticket to contest the bypoll in Bellary, where the BJP has fielded its Nayaka leader - B Sreeramulu’s sister J Shantha. The bypoll is scheduled on November 3.

“The Congress is set to win the bypoll in Bellary. The party is powerful in the district where we have six of our MLAs who are united. We will announce the candidate after finalising it with Rahul Gandhi,” Rao told reporters.

On Friday, all six Congress legislators from the Ballari district huddled for a meeting chaired by Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah. It was the first time that the six MLAs - divided in their opinions - came together to discuss the bypoll. “Look here, all of them are together...rock solid,” Siddaramaiah joked before the meeting.

Ballari district in-charge minister D K Shivakumar said there were 10-12 ticket aspirants for the Bellary Lok Sabha bypoll.

“All of them are candidates with the potential to win. We will unanimously zero in on who should get the ticket and the high command will take the final call,” Shivakumar said.

Bellary MLA B Nagendra’s brother Venkatesh Prasad and one Devendrappa who is said to be a close aide of the Jarkiholi brothers are among the ticket aspirants.

During the meeting, the Ballari MLAs underlined the need to win failing which they said BJP’s Sreeramulu would emerge politically stronger at the cost of the Congress. Shivakumar even took a jibe at Sreeramulu.

“He is the one who says the Pandavas should win. But he should tell voters why he ran away from Bellary Rural constituency,” he said.

Shivakumar urged the Congress cadre in the Ramanagara Assembly constituency to “bite the bullet” as the party had decided to cede the constituency to the JD(S). “Our workers have been fighting HD Deve Gowda and H D Kumaraswamy all along. But now, in the larger interest of the country, we must respect decisions that cause pain and trouble,” Shivakumar said. The party cadre is disgruntled with the decision to cede the Ramanagara seat to the JD(S).

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Rahul to take final call on Bellary bypoll candidate


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