Will Siddaramaiah pull off a win for Congress in Bagalkot?

The other contender is former minister, S R Patil, a Siddaramaiah loyalist, according to party sources.

Update: 2019-03-15 21:36 GMT
A file photo of Congress leader Siddaramaiah with farmers from Bagalkot.

Hubballi: Having been defeated in Badami by BJP leader B Sriramulu in the May 2018 assembly elections, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has been presented an opportunity to redeem himself by ensuring a Congress win from the Bagalkot parliamentary constituency that it is a part of, this Lok Sabha poll.

But with a dozen leaders vying for the party ticket, he is reportedly having a hard time finalising a candidate for the constituency.  He has his task cut out for him as the BJP MP, P C Gaddigoudar has won from the constituency for three consecutive terms since 2004 by a margin of over a lakh votes.

With BJP leader, K S Eshwarappa being put in charge of Bagalkot by his party with an eye on the Kuruba votebank,  it is now a matter of prestige for Mr Siddaramaiah, who also belongs to the community,  to wrest the constituency from the saffron party.

While the Congress top brass is reportedly keen on fielding health and family welfare minister, Shivanand Patil from Bagalkot, he has reportedly refused its offer.

The other contender is former minister, S R Patil, a Siddaramaiah loyalist, according to party sources.

Also in the race are former Zilla Panchayat president, Veena Kashappanavar, the wife of former MLA, Vijayanand Kashappananvar, DCC Bank chairman Ajaykumar Sarnaik,  KPCC secretary, Basavaprabhu Sarnadagouda, and district Congress women's wing president, Rakshita Iti, say sources.

The BJP has, meanwhile, suffered a setback ahead of the Lok Sabha elections as cross voting by three of its party leaders cost it the Bagalkot Zilla Panchayat recently.  Mr Eshwarappa has since held several meetings with Zilla Panchayat members of his party to keep the Kuruba votebank intact for the coming election.

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