Kalburagi: The KPCC Working President Eshwar Khandre is all set to become the Congress candidate for the Bidar Lok Sabha seat against the BJP's sitting MP Bhagwant Khuba.
But the announcement of Mr Khandre's name is getting delayed as late Chief Minister Dharam Singh's son Mr Vijay Singh, who is a member of the Upper House from the local bodies, is making a determined bid to get the ticket.
Mr Singh, who made Bidar his "home district" since 2009 when his father entered the Lok Sabha from Bidar, has assiduously built his support among Dalits, backward and minority voters in the district who put together form a majority and wants to become a voice for them in the constiuteny dominated by the Lingayats. He strongly feels that if these communities join hands together against Lingayats, which would surely happen if he is made the candidate against the BJP’s Khuba, he would have a bright chance of emerging victorious.
Besides some Delhi level leaders, Mr Singh, who is related to former AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh, is said to enjoy the support of KPCC President Dinesh Gundurao..
But some prominent leaders in Delhi as well as the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) Leader Siddaramaiah are said to be backing Mr Khandre. Veteran Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who has a decisive say in deciding the ticket, is also said to be in favour of giving the ticket to Mr Khandre.
Considering the substantial number of Muslim voters, Muslim leaders in Congress have staked claim to the seat too. In case the high command decides in their favour, Mr Mannan Sait is likely to be the Congress candidate for Bidar..
Initially Mr Khandre was said to be not in favour of contesting and wanted to field his wife but this was categorically rejected by the top leaders. Two major factors may help Mr Khandre pip Mr Singh in the race: one the high command's thinking that Bidar seat, could be wrested by fielding a powerful Lingayat leader against BJP's Lingayat candidate. Another major factor is that a Lingayat candidate is a necessity to maintain the caste equation in the region. Of the five Lok Sabha seats in Hyderabad Karnataka, three seats -Kalaburagi (SC), Raichur (ST) and Ballari(SC) are reserved and in the remaining two seats- Bidar and Koppal- the Congress has to field one of these two considering the dominance of the Veerashaiva/Lingayat community in the region.