K'taka Assembly polls: Siddaramaiah to contest from 2 constituencies
Bengaluru: Ending suspense over contesting from a second constituency, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah would file his nomination from Badami in north Karnataka on April 24 for the May 12 assembly polls.
Siddaramaiah has been maintaining that his desire was to contest from Chamundeshwari in Mysuru but he was under pressure from local party leaders to be in the fray from Badami, as it would boost the Congress' prospects in north Karnataka.
The chief minister would file his papers on April 24 between 2 and 3 pm, officials at the CM's office said.
Earlier an official tour programme circulated by the chief minister's office had said Siddaramaiah would file his nomination from Badami on April 23 afternoon but it was withdrawn, deepening the suspense.
Siddaramaiah, who has already filed his nomination from Chamundeshwari constituency in Mysuru, has been saying he was under pressure from local party leaders in Bagalkote and Vijayapura districts to contest from Badami but would leave the final decision to the Congress high command.
Siddaramaiah has been camping in Mysuru since Monday.
He has dedicated his entire schedule for campaigning in Chamundeshwari and Varuna, constituencies from where he and his son Yatindra are candidates respectively. He returned to Bengaluru on Saturday.
Siddaramaiah restricting his campaign to two constituencies has fuelled speculations that he was unhappy that the party central leadership had not allowed him to contest from two constituencies.
The Congress in its list of candidates for 218 seats announced on April 15, had named Dr Devraj Patil as its nominee from Badami. But issuing of B-form (required to be filed by a political party mentioning name of its approved candidate) to Patil has been put on hold.
Siddaramaiah's reported wish to contest from two seats was said to have met with stiff opposition from veteran party leaders Mallikarjuna Kharge and Veerappa Moily, after which it was decided to field Patil. Fielding Patil has led to internal squabbling within the local unit of the party with many including sitting MLA Chimmanakatti opposed to it.
Chimmanakatti has said if the chief minister is not contesting, he should be the candidate. Badami with strong Kuruba presence, the community to which Siddaramaiah belongs, was seen as second safe option for the Chief Minister as reports have suggested that the battle in Chamundeshwari will not be an easy one for him.
Siddaramaiah has won five times and tasted defeat twice at Chamundeshwari, from where he has been announced as the candidate.
JDS has vowed to defeat Siddaramaiah while the BJP's candidate in Chamundeshwari is considered a lightweight, amid allegations that there was a tacit understanding between the two parties. He has been representing Varuna constituency in Mysuru since 2008, which has now been allotted to his son.
Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru on Saturday, Siddaramaiah said he had conveyed to the high command his desire to contest only from Chamundeshwari constituency. "I have told the high command that I will contest from" Chamundeshwari and not from two constituencies. "However, the"people of north Karnataka are pressurising the high command that I should contest from north Karnataka too," he said.
The chief minister said he has not taken any decision and he will go by the decision of the high command.