Will decide on contesting from Badami after consulting with Rahul: Siddaramaiah

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday said he would take a final call on Saturday on contesting from Badami in north Karnataka after discussing the issue with Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

Siddaramaiah, who has been fielded from Chamundeshwari constituency in Mysuru, said he was under pressure from Congress leaders from Bagalkote and Bijapur districts to contest from Badami.

"Tomorrow I am going to take a decision after discussing with Rahul ji (Rahul Gandhi)," Siddaramaiah said in response to a question about when he would decide on Badami.

Speaking to reporters in Mysuru, the chief minister said he would abide by the high command's decision.

"Those from Bagalkote and Bijapur districts; leaders like S R Patil, M B Patil, Timmapur,J T Patil....and several others are pressurising me to contest from there (Badami)," he said.

Siddaramaiah said he had told the high command that he would not contest from the constituency, but leaders were pressurising him.

"So I have told them that I will bring the opinions expressed by you (leaders) to the notice of the high command. Whatever the high command says, I will abide by it," he added.

Siddaramaiah has been camping in Mysuru since Monday and has dedicated his entire schedule for campaigning in Chamundeshwari and Varuna, constituencies from where he and his son Yatindra are the respective candidates.

Restricting his campaign to two constituencies has led to speculations that Siddaramaiah was unhappy that the party central leadership had not allowed him to contest from two constituencies.

The Congress in its list of candidates for 218 seats announced on April 15, had named Devraj Patil as its nominee from Badami.

But issuing of the B-form to Patil has been put on hold.

Siddaramaiah's reported wish to contest from two seats is said to have met with stiff opposition from veteran party leaders Mallikarjuna Kharge and Veerappa Moily, after which it was decided to field Patil.

Kharge and Moily reportedly opposed two constituencies for Siddaramaiah, stating that it would consolidate Vokkaliga votes in favour of JDS in the Mysuru region and also send a wrong message about the chief minister lacking confidence.

Fielding Patil has led to internal squabbling within the local unit of the party, with many, including sitting MLA Chimmanakatti opposed to it.

Chimmanakatti has said that if the chief minister is not contesting, he should be the candidate.

Meanwhile, a Facebook post on an account allegedly belonging to Yatindra today stated that the chief minister would file his nominations from Badami in Bagalkote on April 23 has made headlines.

The post has reportedly been deleted now.

Badami, with a strong presence of Kurubas, the community to which Siddaramaiah belongs, was seen as the second safe option for the chief minister, as reports have suggested that the battle in Chamundeshwari will not be an easy one for him.

Siddaramaiah has won five times and tasted defeat twice at Chamundeshwari, from where he has been announced as the candidate.

He has been representing Varuna constituency in Mysuru since 2008, which has now been allotted to his son Yatindra.

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