Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday said he is still under pressure to contest from north Karnataka, fuelling speculation again whether he would opt for an alternative or a second constituency in the May 12 assembly elections. However, the chief minister, who has been fielded from Chamundeshwari, also said he has made it clear to the Congress high command about his unwillingness to contest from two constituencies.
"Yesterday leaders from the district (Bagalkote) had come to me once again in the night. SR Patil, GT Patil, sitting MLA Chimmanakatti's son, also people from other constituency (Badami), are pressurising that I will have to contest (from there)," Siddaramaiah said. Not acceding to Siddaramaiah's reported wish to contest from two seats -- Chamundeshwari in Mysuru and Badami in north Karnataka, 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 name of its approved candidate) to Patil has been put on hold.
Earlier this month, a delegation of party leaders from north Karnataka had met Siddaramaiah and urged him to contest from Badami constituency in Bagalkote district in the region.
There were speculations that Siddaramaiah was looking for another constituency amid reports it will not be an easy battle for him in the seat.
Speaking to reporters in Mysuru, Siddaramiah today said, "They had come to me once again saying there is confusion as there are several candidates (in Badami); and if I contest it will benefit the party. I have told them that I will discuss, so it?is held up (issuing of B form the party candidate)." Asked if "held up" meant that chances are still open for him to contest from Badami in Bagalkote district in north Karnataka, he said "...You understand whichever way you want.
"I have made it very clear to the high command. I'm not interested and I do not want to contest from two constituencies. I have made it very clear to the high? command," he added.
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, following which it was decided to field Patil. But, this has led to internal squabblings within the local unit of the party with many including sitting MLA Chimmanakatti opposing it.
Chimmanakatti has said if the Chief Minister is not contesting from Badami, 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. Siddaramaiah has won five times and tasted defeat twice in Chamundeshwari, that gave him "political birth".
Making his debut in the Assembly in 1983, he got elected from Chamundeshwari on a Lok Dal Party ticket, from where he has won five times and tasted defeat twice. He had been representing Varuna constituency in Mysuru since 2008, which has now been allotted to his son Yatindra.