Bengaluru: Amid continued speculation about the constituency from where he will contest the 2023 assembly polls, senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Tuesday reaffirmed he will contest from the Badami segment that he currently represents.
Heaping praise on the people of Badami for accepting him, who had come from Mysuru and electing as their MLA in the 2018 polls, the former Chief Minister said he will always be indebted to them.
"You have come here asking me to contest the next election from Badami..have I ever said that I will not contest from Badami? It is true that people are inviting me to contest from other constituencies like Koppal, Chamarajpet, Kolar, like you out of respect," Siddaramaiah said.
Addressing his followers and party workers, who had come from Badami, he said the election is still one year and ten months away and he has already said in the state assembly, about contesting the next polls from Badami and won't go back on it.
"I'm the legislator from Badami constituency and as per the wish expressed by all of you and the people I will once again contest from Badami," he declared, amid cheers of his supporters, who even called him the next Chief Minister.
There have been speculations within the party for some time now that the leader of opposition, who represents Badami in north Karnataka, may return to his home turf of the old Mysuru region or somewhere in Bengaluru for the next general election.
His loyalist and Chamarajpet legislator B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan, who has been openly projecting him as CM face for the next assembly polls causing some differences within the party, has even offered to vacate the constituency for the Congress Legislature Party leader.
Pointing out that Zameer Ahmed Khan has been asking him to contest from his Chamarajpet constituency in Bengaluru, as it is closer, Siddaramaiah maintained that he has never said he will contest from Chamarajpet or Kolar or Koppal.
"I had come from Mysuru, you the people of Badami have accepted and elected me. With what margin I won is not the question, despite me visiting Badami only twice ahead of elections, you elected me.. can I contest from elsewhere without asking you?" he said.
Siddarmaiah has already announced that he will not contest again from Chamundeshwari assembly constituency in Mysuru, where he had tasted defeat during the May 2018 assembly polls.
Siddarmaiah, the then sitting Chief Minister, had lost in Chamundeshwari to JD(S) G T Deve Gowda by a margin of over 36,042 votes.
He, however, won Badami, the other constituency from where he had contested, defeating BJPs Sriramulu by a margin of just 1,696 votes.
Noting that he had to face defeat in Chamundeshwari in Mysuru from where he had won five times, as some political leaders got together against him out of malice, Siddaramaiah said, it is the people of Badami who trusted him, though he had come from elsewhere and got him elected.
"I can't forget the people of Badami.How much ever I thank you it will be less," he said, pointing out that the only disadvantage is he cannot meet the people of the constituency on a daily basis as he will have to attend the duties of the Leader of Opposition and that of the party in Bengaluru and other parts of the state. When his supporters cried out there were no shortcomings despite his absence and they want him as their legislator again, Siddaramaiah said, "you the people of Badami have never complained, but there should not be any dereliction of duty from my side.I have done whatever I can and will continue to do whatever needs to be done for the constituency." Making his debut in the Assembly in 1983, Siddaramaiah had got elected from Chamundeshwari on a Lok Dal Party ticket.He has won five times from this constituency and tasted defeat thrice.
After neighbouring Varuna became a constituency in 2008 following delimitation, Siddarmaiah represented it till he vacated the seat for his son Dr Yatindra in the 2018 assembly polls last year and went back to his old constituency of Camundeshwari.
Ahead of the May 2018 assembly polls, Siddaramaiah had said it would "most likely" be his last election.
Earlier, during the 2013 assembly polls too, he had said that it was his last election and went on to become chief minister after the polls.
It is no secret that Siddaramaiah is nursing his ambition to become chief minister for a second term if the party wins the next assembly polls in 2023.
With State Congress President D K Shivakumar too having similar ambitions, it has triggered a game of one-upmanship between the two leaders....