BENGALURU: Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president DK Shivakumar on Wednesday announced the party’s decision to field former minister T B Jayachandra as its candidate for the Sira assembly bypolls. The seat fell vacant after the death of JDS MLA B Satyanarayana owing to ill health in August.In a show of unity, Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah held a meeting of all Tumakuru Congress leaders before deciding on Wednesday. Announcing the party’s decision to the media, Shivakumar said that Jayachandra was a unanimous choice and was recommended by the leaders of Tumakuru.
“We have decided to go to polls with Dr G Parameshwara as chairman and Rajanna as co-chairman. Rajanna has recommended Jayachandra’s name. All the leaders have unanimously agreed to Rajanna’s suggestion. Siddaramaiah and I will convey the opinion to the high command. We will begin our preparations immediately and fight unitedly,” Shivakumar said.
The choice of Jayachandra, who lost in the constituency in the 2018 assembly elections by 10,365 votes, comes in the backdrop of fears that Congress may lose him to BJP.“I lost in the previous election due to sympathy votes but this time around I am sure of winning with a majority banking on the development work I initiated in the constituency first as an MLA and then as a minister. I have been chosen unanimously. And irrespective of differences within the party, since this is a matter of the party’s survival, we will fight unitedly,” Jayachandra told TNIE.
Denying speculations that he would have joined the BJP if not offered a ticket, Jayachandra said, “I joined Congress 50 years ago as a law student and I am a born Congressman,” he said.Former legislator Rajanna was seen as another frontrunner and had even met Shivakumar earlier this month.
Jayachandra had won from the constituency twice before the 2018 assembly polls. In 2013, he had polled 74,089 votes at 46.47 per cent while in 2008 he had polled 60,793 votes at 45.02 per cent, both against JDS’ candidate Satyanarayana.Political scenario in Sira, that has generally seen a two-way fight between the Congress and JDS, has changed ever since the 2019 Lok Sabha polls when the two rivals were compelled to work together as allies due to coalition compulsions. In the last three assembly elections of 2018, 2015 and 2008, the BJP had polled only 9.41 per cent, 11.84 per cent and 17.79 per cent respectively.