BENGALURU: The Congress on Monday released its list of 20 candidates for the December 10 elections to the Council, setting off discontent among the party rank and file. The list, which has the stamp of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president D K Shivakumar, contains names which have raised eyebrows in political circles.
The party has omitted the name of leader of opposition in the Council, S R Patil, from Vijayapura-Bagalkot dual seat, which Patil has been representing. Instead, it has included Sunil Gowda Patil, younger brother of former minister M B Patil. S R Patil, the 73-year-old former minister identified with Opposition leader Siddaramaiah, has functioned effectively, and the December 13-24 winter session in Belagavi is likely to be his last one.
Interestingly, Shivakumar’s supporter Mantar Gowda, son of former minister A Manju of BJP, is the candidate for Kodagu, and Dinesh Gooligowda, who was officer on special duty to Cooperation Minister S T Somashekar till recently, is named for Mandya. “What is their contribution to the party? This will hurt grassroots workers,” remarked a second-rung leader.
Meanwhile, supporters of Shivakumar have questioned the credibility of candidates such as B Somashekar, the Chitradurga candidate and supporter of Siddaramaiah. Dissidence over ticket distribution is already brewing.
Interestingly, MLA Lakshmi Hebbalkar’s brother Channaraja Basavaraja Hattiholi was selected for Belagavi. For Mysuru-Chamarajanagar dual seat, the party dropped incumbent MLC R Dharmasena’s name, and instead, declared Dr D Thimmaiah as its candidate. Sources said that Dharmasena backtracked as he wants to contest the 2024 LS polls from Chamarajanagar, reserved for SC.
KPCC working president Saleem Ahmed will contest from Hubballi-Dharwad-Gadag-Haveri dual seat. The Tumakuru candidate is Siddaramaiah supporter and rebel Congress leader K N Rajanna’s son Rajendra. The party has fielded Bhimrao B Patil from Bidar, ML Anil Kumar from Kolar and Yousuf Shariff from Bengaluru Urban.
Kondaiah’s 1999 sacrifice for Sonia Gandhi pays off Releasing the list, Shivakumar clarified that since S R Patil is a veteran, a decision was taken at the state level not to field him again. “It doesn’t mean we will leave him in the lurch, we have another strategy,” he remarked.
On K C Kondaiah getting the ticket, despite opposition in Ballari, Shivakumar clarified that his seniority and sacrifice of Ballari Lok Sabha seat in 1999 for AICC President Sonia Gandhi, had held him in good stead. He claimed that active party workers have been given “opportunities” and defended the candidature of Mantar Gowda and Gooligowda. “It is inevitable when fielding candidates for Rajya Sabha and Council polls, and has become the norm in all parties,” he said.
EYE ON ASSEMBLY SEATS
MLCs Gopalaswamy from Hassan, who is eyeing Shravanabelagola assembly seat, chief whip M Narayanaswamy of Bengaluru City who wants contest from KR Puram, Vijay Singh of Bidar who is expected to contest from Basavakalyan, and Raghu Achar from Chitradurga who also wants to switch to an assembly seat, have decided not to contest Council polls. Former Council chairman Pratap Chandra Shetty has decided to quit active politics.
OTHERS WHO MADE IT
Kalaburagi: Shivananda Patil Martur
Uttara Kannada: Bhimanna Naik
Raichur: Saranagouda Annadanagouda Patil
Shivamogga: R Prasannakumar
Dakshina Kannada: Manjunath Bhandari
Chikkamagaluru: A V Gayathri Shanthegowda
Hassan: M Shankar
Bengaluru Rural: S Ravi
Ballari: C Kondaiah
Party will expel those contesting as rebels: DKS
Kalaburagi: KPCC president DK Shivakumar on Monday warned that those workers who will contest as rebels against the party’s official candidates in the Council elections will be expelled from the Congress. Speaking to the media here, he urged all Congress leaders and workers to work hard for the victory of the party candidates. Claiming that there were no factions in the Congress, Shivakumar said, “There is only one faction and that is Sonia Gandhi faction.” He said that the State Government should conduct a high-level probe into the letter by the President of Contractors Association to the Prime Minister alleging that 2% of the contract amount was being paid to the MPs for the works allotted to them.
“The PM should order for an impartial probe... otherwise he too has to face the blames,” Shivakumar said. He said a Congress delegation with meet Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot after filing nomination papers for the December 10 Council polls and brief him about the corrupt practices of the State Government. Shivakumar demanded that the government immediately compensate those farmers who have lost their crops to the untimely rains.