Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah has once again said that the party leadership will decide his candidature from the Badami seat and he will abide by its decision. Speaking to ANI, the chief minister said: "Whatever the party leadership says, I will abide by it".
His remarks have only added to the suspense over whether he will opt to contest from a second constituency in the upcoming Assembly polls. Siddaramaiah's reported wish to contest from two seats is said to have met with stiff Opposition from veteran party leaders Mallikarjuna Kharge and Veerappa Moily after which it was decided to field Devraj Patil. But Patil's candidature has now been put on hold.
But this move had led to internal squabbling within the local unit of the party with many including sitting MLA Chimmanakatti opposed to it. Chimmanakatti has said if the chief minister is not contesting, he should be the candidate.
On Thursday, Siddaramaiah was campaigning in Varuna, the constituency he is currently contesting from, when people from Badami stopped his car by the roadside. Besides giving positive assurances to them, he came out with his most assertive declaration yet when supporters of Patil stopped his vehicle to say, “We welcome you to Badami, you must come to it. But if you don’t , please give the B form to Devraj Patil.” The chief minister responded with, “Naane bartheeni (I will myself come), you leave.”
According to the Deccan Chronicle report, Siddaramaiah had met with All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary KC Venugopal, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) chief, Dr G Parameshwar, and others at a private hotel in Mysuru late on Wednesday night and told reporters on Thursday morning that he still doesn't know what decision the party high-command will take. However, when he was asked about when there would be clarity on the candidate for Badami, he said a decision would be taken by 23 or 24 April.
Badami with a strong Kuruba presence, the community to which Siddaramaiah belongs, was seen as the second safe option for the chief minister as reports have suggested that the battle in Chamundeshwari will not be an easy one for him.
At the press conference on Friday, Siddaramaiah attacked Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah for the latter's remarks on his religion. "Amit Shah said I am not a Hindu, but Amit Shah himself is not a Hindu, he is a Jain. He might believe in Hindutva but let him come out and say he is a Hindu and not a Jain", he told ANI. He also said that Congress will not enter into an alliance for the Karnataka polls. "We are not going to enter into an alliance with any party. We are a secular party", Siddaramaiah remarked. But when a reporter asked him that Janata Dal (Secular) is also secular he rebutted by saying "Who told you JD(S) is a secular party?"
Updated Date: Apr 20, 2018 12:19 PM