Senior party leaders from the State, it appears, have had the final say in preparing the second list of Congress candidates, which was released by the party high command in New Delhi on Sunday, for the 40 contentious Assembly constituencies.
Though the ruling BJP, too, released its third list of 37 candidates, it failed to select nominees for the contentious 12 constituencies.
The sons of Union Minister Mallikarjuna Kharge (Priyank Kharge for Chitapur) and N Dharam Singh (Ajay Singh for Jevargi) and the brother of party general secretary B K Hari Prasad (B K Shivaram for Malleshwaram) have managed to secure tickets.
Besides, the party has bowed to threats issued by mine owner and party MP Anil Lad and allowed him to contest from the Bellary city constituency, which was perhaps the most contentious as far as ticket distribution was concerned.
Anil Lad had warned that he would field his own candidates as independents in all the constituencies of Bellary district if the party denied him a ticket. There were about nine influential aspirants for Bellary city, including Diwakar Babu, K C Kondaiah and Allam Veerabhadrappa. But Lad finally prevailed.
Prominent among the BJP candidates in the third list are Bangalore city Mayor D Venkatesh Murthy from Shantinagar, former deputy mayor S Harish from Mahalakshmi Layout, Anand Singh from Vijayanagar, businessman Uday Garudachar from Chickpet and Padmanabha Reddy from Sarvagnanagar.
However, the BJP could not finalise candidates for contentious constituencies like Hebbal, Malur and KGF, where sitting MLAs are considered tainted.
The names were finalised in a meeting held on Sunday evening in Bangalore and attended by opposition leader in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and State party president Pralhad Joshi.
The BJP has so far finalised candidates for 212 constituencies. The Congress has announced candidates for 215 seats.
Union Ministers K H Muniyappa’s daughter and K Rahman Khan’s son have been denied tickets.
Besides, the party has replaced the candidates for two seats, which were announced in the first list, to ensure caste balance.
The party is yet to announce candidates for nine more constituencies, including Hebbal, Rajarajeshwarinagar, Bhadravati and Davanagere North.
Many of those said to be supporters of senior leaders like KPCC chief G Parameshwara and CLP leader Siddaramaiah—M C Venugopal (Jayanagar), Byrati Basavaraj (K R Puram) and P Ramesh (C V Raman Nagar)—have secured tickets.
Though the Congress had claimed that it would not field those with criminal background, it has fielded Amaresh, the sitting MLA from Mulbagal, who has been convicted in a forgery case by a JMFC court. He has got a stay on it.
The party appears to have gone by the “winnability factor” while issuing the tickets. Independent MLAs P M Narendraswamy (Malavalli) and D Sudhakar (Hiriyur) have got tickets.
Party hoppers C S Putte Gowda, who was the Janata Dal-Secular MLA, and BJP legislator Prathap Gowda Patil have been given tickets for Shravanabelagola and Maski seats respectively despite opposition from party leaders.
Similarly, the party has not attached much importance to protests staged in Bangalore against fielding Tejaswini Gowda (Bangalore south), G A Bava (Chamarajpet) and A C Srinivasa (Mahadevapura). In a setback to senior party leader Shamnur Shivashankarappa, the party has not given the ticket to his son Shamnur Mallikarjun from the Davanagere North constituency as requested by him. Shamnur Shivashankarappa has been fielded in the Davanagere South constituency. The party is likely to field a minority community leader in Davanagere North.
It is feared that the announcement of the second list may trigger protests across the State.
Film actor Ambareesh wanted a change of constituency but the party has denied it. He wanted to contest from Srirangapatna instead of Mandya.
The actor, popularly known as the “Rebel Star,” had also opposed the fielding of A S Ravindra from Srirangapatna.
He is apparently upset with the party for giving ticket to Ravindra and has refused to file nomination papers from Mandya. H M Revanna, ticket aspirant for the Hebbal seat, is said to be planning to contest as an independent candidate. Another senior leader A Krishnappa from K R Puram, too, is unhappy with the party, sources said.
Though the AICC election committee headed by Sonia Gandhi cleared candidates for 47 constituencies on Friday, the party did not release the list immediately fearing rebellion. Instead, it pacified the disappointed leaders of each of these constituencies before releasing the names. The process is still on and names of remaining nine seats will be announced shortly, sources said.
April 17 is the last day for filing nomination papers.
Ambareesh refuses to contest
“Rebel Star” and Congress leader Ambareesh on Sunday rebelled against his party for overlooking his opposition and fielding Ravindra Srikantaiah as its candidate from Srirangapatna constituency in Mandya district, DHNS reports.
After Ravindra’s name figured in the second list of Congress candidates announced on Sunday, Ambareesh threw tantrums at the party saying that he will not contest the Assembly elections from the Mandya constituency. He made these statements during an interview to a television channel. The party had announced Ambareesh’s candidature from Mandya in its first list.