Polls: Congress Faces Wrath Over Rising Sons - The New Indian Express

Polls: Congress Faces Wrath Over Rising Sons

Published: 24th January 2014 08:17 AM

Last Updated: 24th January 2014 08:17 AM

With just over 100 days left for the Lok Sabha polls, the Congress and the BJP are struggling to cope with ticket demands from senior leaders.

The BJP has put off announcing its first list of candidates, while the Congress is trying to overcome the storm kicked up after it added the name of Harsha Moily, son of Union Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily, for the Dakshina Kannada seat.

Earlier, the party had cleared the name of former union minister Janardhan Poojary for that seat.

The BJP has to find two new candidates for Bellary and Raichur, as the current MPs are going with the BSR Congress. It is also considering shuffling the seats of sitting MPs Janardhana Swamy (Chitradurga), Ananth Kumar Hegde (Uttara Kannada), B Y Raghavendra (Shimoga), Shivakumar Udasi (Haveri) and D B Chandre Gowda (Bangalore North).

The BJP has decided to replace Raghavendra and Udasi Jr with their respective fathers: former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and former minister C M Udasi. There is no clarity in the remaining constituencies. Meanwhile, demand is high for tickets from former ministers and sitting and defeated MLAs.

“Each of them believes he can become a central minister if the NDA comes to power,” said a senior BJP leader.

Former chief minister D V Sadananda Gowda, former deputy chief minister R Ashok, and former ministers Shobha Karandlaje and Murgesh Nirani are among those whose eyes are set on Delhi.

The fight for the Bangalore North seat has become so intense that Sadananda Gowda vented his ire on Ashok for attempting to destroy his chances of getting a ticket.

Bangalore North has a significant presence of Vokkaliga voters, and both leaders belong to that community. Shobha, also a Vokkliga, is the third BJP leader eyeing Bangalore North. She is also considering the Mysore seat. Nirani is keen to contest from Bagalkot, a seat currently held by P C Gaddigoudar of the BJP.

Because of these rumblings, the party had to put off its plans to release its first list on Monday (January 20). Party spokesperson C T Ravi, however, claimed the delay had nothing to do with intensified lobbying for tickets. 

“We still have adequate time to finalise names by February first week,” he told Express.

In the Congress, the situation is no different, with several leaders pushing their sons to test the electoral waters. The sudden inclusion of Harha Moily in Dakshina Kannada has angered Poojary and his supporters.

A delegation from Mangalore met KPCC leaders in Bangalore and expressed their opposition to Harsha Moily’s candidature. They even sent a stern warning to party higher-ups that denying Poojary a ticket could prove detrimental to the party’s prospects in at least three districts where his community, the Idigas (toddy tappers), hold sway.

The decision to field Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani from Bangalore South has not gone down well with several leaders. Though they are mum now, the simmering discontent may come to fore once Nilekani jumps into the fray.

There is also an outcry against including the sons of Law Minister T B Jayachandra and MLA K Rajanna on the list. AICC general secretary B K Hariprasad, whose Rajya Sabha term ends soon, is making an effort to contest from Uttara Kannada, where Nivedith Alva (son of Margret Alva, Rajasthan Governor) and Prashanth Deshpande (son of R V Deshpande, higher education minister) are on the shortlist. Hariprasad is also eyeing Bangalore North.

“Though we give tickets to ensure adequate representation for all sections, winning potential remains our only yardstick,” a senior KPCC functionary said.

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