Karnataka Chief Minister” Siddaramaiah on Thursday said the Congress high command would decide on his contesting from Badami, adding to the suspense over whether he would opt for a second constituency in the assembly polls.
Visibly upset on media’s repeated questions about him contesting from the segment in north Karnataka, Siddaramaiah, who has been fielded from Chamundeshwari constituency in Mysuru, said, he was the chief minister and not the high command.
“High command will decide on Badami,” Siddaramaiah,” told reporters at Mysuru, where he is camping since Monday for campaigning in Chamundeshwari and Varuna, constituencies from where he and his son Yatindra respectively are the candidates.
Asked if he would contest from two constituencies, opting for Badami too, he said: “(I’ll do) whatever high command decides…”
To another question, the chief minister said there should be clarity on Badami constituency by April 23 or 24.
“I’m not the high command, I’m the Chief Minister of the state. I don’t know what directions they (high command) will give, will have to see..”
Asking the media not to repeat questions on the issue, he said, “The people there are not confused, the Badami people are very clear. Only you (media) have confusion.”
Siddaramaiah has said he was still under pressure to contest from Badami, fuelling speculation again whether he would opt for an alternative or a second constituency.
Not acceding to Siddaramaiah’s reported wish to contest from two seats, Chamundeshwari and Badami, the Congress in its list of candidates for 218 seats announced on April 15, had named Devraj Patil as its nominee from Badami.
But issuing of B-form (required to be filed by a political party mentioning the name of its approved candidate) to Patil has been put on hold.
Siddaramaiah’s reported wish to contest from two seats is 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 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.
He has been representing Varuna constituency in Mysuru since 2008, which has now been allotted to his son Yatindra.”