A triangular fight is underway between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress and the Janata Dal Secular (JDS), to get that magic number to form the government in Karnataka.
However, it now seems that there is a similar triangular fight in the state Congress between -AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge, legislative party president and former CM Siddaramaiah and KPCC president DK Shivakumar-as they are fighting to procure tickets for their followers.
The Congress high command, according to sources, approved only 80 seats with many having only single-name recommendations. With anti-incumbency and age being driving factors, sources told India Today that around seven sitting MLAs are being asked to sit out.
With 185 seats discussed in total, 135 names with segments were decided to be announced on March 22, after Rahul Gandhi’s rally in Belgaum. Two or more aspirants are present for each constituency when it comes to at least 50-60 seats.
What has added fuel to the fire is that two or more aspirants are backed either by DKS, Kharge or Siddaramaiah. Every winning MLA, as per sources, will carry weight while choosing the CLP leader who will eventually sit on the chief minister’s chair.
NAMES FOR CANDIDATES FOR 170 SEATS FINAL
Karnataka Congress’ screening committee finalised candidates for 170 seats of the 224 after a four-day meeting held last week on the outskirts of Bengaluru. The committee couldn’t arrive at a consensus with respect to 50 to 60 names and the decision was left to the party’s high command.
Winnability, resource mobilisation, caste combination, loyalty are the basic factors being considered and the idea was to have the list announced on Friday in Delhi, said sources.
According to media reports, Congress state president DK Shivakumar attributed the high demand for Congress tickets to the wave in the party’s favour. He denied infighting among leaders, insisting that merit should be the only criterion for tickets. He mentioned that consensus will be built over time and soon names for 224 segments would be announced.
SIDDARAMAIAH ASKED TO CONTEST FROM MYSURU
Meanwhile, the high command has said no to Siddaramaiah to contest from Kolar, but to choose Varuna in Mysuru as it is a safe seat. This comes after Siddaramaiah made several trips there, conducting truce meetings with stakeholders, including V Muniyappa and Ramesh Kumar.
This is Siddaramaiah’s last election and sources say the party high command doesn’t want him taking risks at this stage. Siddaramaiah won Varuna in 2013 and later gave up the seat for his son in 2018.
He contested from Chamundehwari and Badami. He managed to scrape through Badami with a slender margin. He also has the responsibility of consolidating the OBC votes, which form over 50 pc of the total electorate. Siddharamaiah said that he would go by what the high command decides.