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Karnataka Election: Siddaramaiah urged to contest from two constituencies, to leave final decision to Congress leadership

Bengaluru: The suspense over Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah contesting from two constituencies in the 12 May Assembly elections has deepened further, though the Congress leader maintained he would leave the final call to the party high command.

An official tour programme circulated by the Chief Minister's Office said Siddaramaiah would file his nomination from Badami in north Karnataka on 23 April. But soon thereafter, the programme list was withdrawn with a message that the schedule for 23 April would be issued separately.

 Karnataka Election: Siddaramaiah urged to contest from two constituencies, to leave final decision to Congress leadership

File image of Siddaramaiah. PTI

Siddaramaiah, who has already filed his nomination from Chamundeshwari constituency in Mysuru, has been saying that he was under pressure from local party leaders in Bagalkote and Vijayapura districts to contest from Badami, but would leave the final decision to the Congress high command.

Since the last few days, Siddaramaiah has been saying that he was under pressure from local Congress leaders to contest from Badami, as it would benefit party's performance in the northern parts of the state.

Siddaramaiah had been camping in Mysuru since Monday and has dedicated his entire schedule for campaigning in Chamundeshwari and Varuna, constituencies from where he and his son Yatindra are Congress candidates. He returned to Bengaluru on Saturday.

Siddaramaiah restricting his campaign to two constituencies has fuelled speculations that he was unhappy that the party central leadership had not allowed him to contest from two constituencies.

The Congress in its list of candidates for 218 seats as announced on 15 April, had named Dr Devraj Patil as its nominee from Badami. But issuing of B-form (required to be filed by a political party mentioning name of its approved candidate) to Patil has been put on hold.

Siddaramaiah's reported wish to contest from two seats was said to have met with stiff opposition from veteran party leaders Mallikarjuna Kharge and Veerappa Moily, after which it was decided to field Patil.

Fielding Patil has 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.

Badami, with a strong Kuruba presence, the community to which Siddaramaiah belongs, was seen as a second safe option for the chief minister, as reports have suggested that the battle in Chamundeshwari will not be an easy one for him. Siddaramaiah has won five times and tasted defeat twice at Chamundeshwari.

In 2008, he had contested from Varuna constituency in Mysuru, but that has now been allotted to his son this time. Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Siddaramaiah said he had conveyed to the high command his desire to contest only from Chamundeshwari constituency.

"I have told the high command that I will contest from Chamundeshwari and not from two constituencies. However, the people of north Karnataka are pressuring the high command that I should contest from north Karnataka too," he said.

The chief minister said he has not taken any decision and he will go by the decision of the high command.

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Updated Date: Apr 21, 2018 21:57:39 IST