Hours after the Congress published a provisional list of voters for a primary election, Congress circles were abuzz with rumours that Agriculture Minister Krishna Byregowda would be fielded from Bangalore North.
He flatly denied the reports, saying that he had travelled to Delhi to check the availability of fertiliser for the kharif crop.
A primary election is used by a party to zero in on its candidate for an upcoming election. For Bangalore North, the Congress has prepared a list of 476 primary voters from among members who have held certain posts.
Popular in the United States, the primaries are being employed by the Congress in two constituencies in Karnataka: Dakshina Kannada and Bangalore North.
“The party has not asked me to contest. And people of my constituency have voted for me for five years. I should respect their verdict,” Byregowda, an MLA from Bytarayanapura in Bangalore, said.
The Congress is thinking of fielding some MLAs and ministers for the April 17 Lok Sabha polls.
“There is a thinking this will give us an edge,” KPCC president G Parameshwara told Express. He added the party would not pressure any of them to contest. Ministers H Anjaneya (Chitradurga), Vinay Kumar Sorake (Dakshina Kannada) and Prakash Hukkeri (Chikkodi) are also being considered for Lok Sabha tickets.
Sorake has declined, saying he was a leader in Udupi, a district carved out of Dakshina Kannada. The other two are also reluctant to give up their ministerial berths in Bangalore and go to the Lok Sabha.
Meanwhile, B L Shankar, former chairman of the Legislative Council and senior Congress leader, has expressed satisfaction at the way intra-party polls are being conducted.
He had earlier complained to Parameshwara that some aspirants were attempting to induce voters in the primaries. “The observers are keeping a hawk’s eye on the process. If anyone is found guilty, he will be dismissed,” he said.
Shankar is an aspirant for the Bangalore North seat and is contesting the primaries slated for March 13.
Apart from Shankar, former Lok Sabha member C Narayanaswamy, IIM-B professor Rajiv Gowda, former police officer K C Ramamurthy, Parameshwara’s political secretary Chandrashehkar and former Ranji cricketer Sripad Renu are also in the fray.
Dakshina Kannada is another constituency where the Congress is choosing its candidates through a primary. Former minister B Janardhan Poojary is in the fray there. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Parameshwara are going to Delhi on Thursday to finalise the first list of candidates.