BELAGAVI: The Congress has decided to field former MP and party veteran Prakash Hukkeri as its candidate for the upcoming Legislative Council elections from the North East Teachers’ constituency. A six-time MLA and a former MP, Hukkeri will clash with sitting MLC Arun Shahpur of the BJP.
According to sources, AICC General Secretary Mukul Vasnik announced the candidature of Hukkeri in New Delhi. A seasoned politician from Chikkodi, Hukkeri is a popular politician in North Karnataka. He was a strong contender for Congress ticket in the recently-held MLC election from Belagavi local bodies constituency.
The party, however, had fielded Chennaraj Hattiholi. Ever since he lost the last Lok Sabha election from Chikkodi, Hukkeri had been exerting pressure on the Congress high command for a chance to bounce back into state politics.
An MLA from the erstwhile Sadalaga Assembly seat, Hukkeri launched his son Ganesh Hukkeri into state politics in the 2014 Assembly bypoll. Ganesh had won riding on his father’s popularity. Ganesh had won from Chikkodi assembly segment, which was carved out post-delimitation with the merger of Sadalaga into it.
Prakash Hukkeri was one of the powerful ministers in the cabinet of Siddaramaiah, who was CM from 2013-2018, but his party decided to field him from Chikkodi in the Lok Sabha elections. Under pressure from the high command, Hukkeri quit the Cabinet and his son contested from Chikkodi assembly seat which he had eventually quit.
Hukkeri was holding the portfolios of Sugar, Small Scale Industries and Muzrai in the Siddaramaiah’s Cabinet when he was made to quit in 2013. Later, Hukkeri went on to win the Chikkodi Lok Sabha seat in 2014 but lost the last election from the same seat to BJP’s Annasaheb Jolle in 2019.