Siddaramaiah, Kolar Missing from Cong’s Second List for Karnataka; Fresh Faces, 3 Turncoats Get Ticket


​ Former chief minister Siddaramaiah’s wish to stand from Kolar remained unaddressed as the second list of 42 candidates released by the Congress on Thursday did not have the name of the high-stakes assembly seat. The Kolar candidate is likely to feature in the third list, which will be declared in the next few days, sources said.

In its second list for the upcoming assembly elections in Karnataka, the party has given a ticket to over 20 fresh faces and three turncoats, who switched from the BJP and JDS.

To date, the Congress has announced two lists – the first on March 25, which declared 124 candidates, and the second list on April 6 with 42 candidates. The total now stands at 166, while candidates for the remaining 58 seats will be out in a third list, as per party sources.

Sources said the Congress had names of two candidates each for the remaining 58 seats. Senior leader Rahul Gandhi had asked the party’s central election committee to narrow it down to one person for each seat in the next 24 to 48 hours, they added. In the two lists, the party has retained 60 out of its 69 sitting MLAs.

“There are a few seats where the decision to name a candidate should be taken carefully, keeping in mind the caste matrix, the popularity of the candidate, and the winnability of the candidate,” senior Congress leader Priyank Kharge told News18.

The three turncoats – former BJP MLC from Gurumitkal Baburao Chinchansur, former BJP MLA from Kudligi NY Gopal Krishna, and expelled JD(S) legislator SR Srinivas – have been rewarded with tickets from Gurumitkal, Molakalmuru and Gubbi constituencies.

Chinchansur was seen as being instrumental in campaigning against Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, leading to his defeat. Gopalkrishna, popular among local residents, was with the Congress and had the Molakalmuru seat from 1997 to 2013. He lost to Thippeswamy, who contested from B Sriramulu’s BSR party, in 2013 following which he joined the BJP when he was denied a Congress ticket in the 2018 polls. He ended up winning from the Kudligi assembly segment. This time, he will once again contest from Molakalmuru represented by Sriramulu, who is a minister and is expected to get a ticket from Ballari rural.

The second list has over 20 new faces, one of whom is contesting from Chamundeshwari seat from where Siddaramaiah has contested eight times and won five times. This ticket has gone to Siddhegowda, a new entrant, along with Mahantesh Kadadi for Gokak, Basavaraj V Shivaganga for Channagiri, Prasadraj Kanchan for Udupi, Iqbal Ahmed for Tumkuru city, Balraj Gowda for Yeshwathpura, Keshava Rajanna B for Yelahanka, Keshava Murthy for Mahalaxmi layout and BL Devraja for Krishnarajpet, V Raghunatha Naidu for Pamanabha Nagar among others.

Former MLC and son of former CM Dharam Singh, Vijay Dharam Singh was named from Basavakalyan. His brother Ajay Dharam Singh is an incumbent MLA from the Jevargi constituency, which used to be represented by their father.

One of the first senior JD(S) leaders to move to the Congress, YSV Datta, was denied a ticket for Kadur assembly seat. Datta had won on a JD(S) ticket in 2013 but lost to Belli Prakash of the BJP in 2018. The Kadur ticket has gone to Anand KS, who is a close aide of state unit chief DK Shivakumar.

The Congress has also backed Darshan Puttanaiah, the son of popular farmer leader KS Puttanaiah, from the Melukote seat. He is contesting as a candidate from the Sarvodaya Karnataka party. The US-educated leader joined politics after his father’s death in February 2018 and polled 74,000 votes in Melukote in the 2018 polls as a candidate from the Swaraj India Party.

A look at the caste matrix

The two lists have tried to balance the caste matrix – Lingayats on 41 seats; Vokkaligas on 35, SC Right and Valmiki community on 12 seats each; Muslims on 11 seats; Kurubas on eight; SC Left and Ediga community on seven seats each; Brahmin on five seats; SC Lambani, Besta Koli Mogaveera and Marathas on four seats each; SC Bovi and Bunts on three seats each; Rajputs and Reddys on two seats each; and one seat each to Christians, Jains, Naidus, Kodavas, Upparas, Vaishyas among others.

Kharge said the delay in releasing the lists was not due to confusion but the “number of good candidates in each constituency making it a tough decision to finalise names”.

“It was heartening to see that we received 1,800 applications for 224 seats. This only goes to show the overwhelming trust people have in the party to return to power and bring in good governance,” he added.

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