1 seat fine, but want my nominees in: Siddaramaiah

The CM's son will most likely be the party's candidate in Varuna constituency.

BENGALURU: Congress’ final list of candidates for the crucial assembly polls will be announced on Sunday, sources close to the events said Saturday even as sources indicated that the list of nominees for next month's elections to the Legislative Assembly were still being vetted. The main takeaway? Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's plans of contesting from two constituencies were nixed by party president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday.

Mr Gandhi evidently told Mr Siddaramaiah to pick one seat of his choice rather than stand from both Badami in the north and Chamundeshwari in the south. The latter agreed to take a decision by Sunday morning. The CM's son will most likely be the party's candidate in Varuna constituency.

With the party likely to release the complete list of 224 candidates on Sunday, Mr Siddaramaiah seems set to have a major say in drawing up the list though veterans such as party leader Lok Sabha leader, M. Mallikarjun Kharge, former Union ministers M. Veerappa Moily, K. H. Muniyappa and K. Rehman Khan made concerted efforts to ensure the party should effectively implement time tested social engineering formula instead of adhering only to the winnablity criteria.

During prolonged discussions, Mr Siddaramiah however reportedly strongly asserted that he should be given a free hand to pick candidates of his choice rather than accept ones imposed on him from all quarters. "I am confident of winning 120 seats if my list is approved," he repeatedly told top leaders according to high level sources in the party.

Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, a senior leader disclosed that the tussle was reduced from 25 contentious seats till Friday evening to 10-12 seats by Saturday evening.

“The party has seemingly agreed to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's proposal to implement winnablity formula over the social engineering formula. Apart from this, the Chief Minister also contested that "some leaders" whom he was recommending were simply part of his larger strategy to "mobilise resources" to ensure the party's victory in Hyderabad-Karnataka region, implying the induction of Mr Ashok Kheny into the party, and recommending his candidature for Bidar (South) constituency. In view of such a stand adopted by Mr Siddaramaiah, the leader seems set to have a major say in the selection process, the leader added.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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