Banaglore: UIDAI Chairman Nandan Nilekani moved closer to his electoral debut from the high-profile Bangalore (South) Lok Sabha constituency with the election committee of KPCC recommending his candidature at the end of a meeting held here on Monday.
Nilekani and entrepreneur U.B. Venkatesh, a die-hard supporter of Railway minister M Mallikarjun Kharge, were chosen by the committee to take on five-time Member of Parliament H. N. Ananth Kumar in Bengaluru (South).
The panel has played safe by retaining the names of all nine Members of Parliament while recommending single names—former KPCC president B. Janardhan Poojary for Mangalore, former chief justice of Orissa HC N.Y. Hanumanthappa for Bellary and former minister S. S. Mallikarjun for Davangere. UIDAI Chairman Nandan Nilekani on Monday said he is ready to contest election from Congress, if the party gives a ticket to him.
Meanwhile, Nilekani told media persons in New Delhi, “I have already said that if the Congress gives me a ticket, I will stand for election. All I have said is that I am ready to contest on a Congress ticket. I think Congress is a party dedicated to long term reforms. And certainly, in my five years in government, it has given me total support to implement such a sophisticated project.”
Sources in the party said a few members moved the election committee to field former external affairs minister S M Krishna from a constituency of his choice in Bengaluru.
They also urged Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and KPCC president Dr G. Parameshwar to prevail upon Krishna to enter the fray as his presence would augur well for the party. Dr Parameshwar and energy minister D.K. Shivakumar, however, told the committee that they broached the issue with Krishna but he clarified that he was not interested in contesting the Lok Sabha polls. Dr Parameshwar, too, told the committee that he was not interested in contesting the elections though his candidature was proposed for Chitradurga Lok Sabha constituency.
The sources said for Bangalore (North), the committee reportedly the names of former Chairman of Legislative Council B.L. Shankar, former IPS officer K. C. Ramamurthy, G.C. Chandrashekhar, political secretary to KPCC president, and Prof Rajiv Gowda of Indian Institute of Management-Bengaluru (IIM-B).
For Bangalore (Central), the committee has recommended former Union minister C.K. Jaffer Sharief, state Youth Congress president Rizwan Arshad and retired IPS officer H.T. Sangliana.
In a surprise move, the committee has recommended party general secretary and Rajya Sabha member B.K. Hariprasad’s name for Canara (Uttara Kannada) Lok Sabha seat along with other contenders such as Nivedith Alva, son of Rajasthan Governor Margaret Alva and Prashant Deshpande, son of tourism minister R.V. Deshpande.
The decision of finding candidates for Tumkur and Hassan Lok Sabha constituencies has been left to senior central leaders of the party. The sources pointed out that with the committee retaining all nine members of Parliament, it is unlikely that Pramoda Devi, widow of Srikanthdatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, will enter the fray in Mysore.