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Karnataka polls: Siddaramaiah files papers from second seat, nomination ends

Siddaramaiah filed his nomination from a second constituency, Badami in north Karnataka.

Karnataka polls: Siddaramaiah files papers from second seat, nomination ends
Pic courtesy: IANS

Bengaluru: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah filed his nomination from a second constituency, Badami in north Karnataka, as the deadline for entering the fray for the May 12 assembly polls ended on Tuesday with a total of over 3,900 nominations submitted since the process was initiated.

As the curtains came down, there was the last day rush with over 1,730 nominations filed today, according to state electoral authorities.

Over 3,925 nominations had been filed for 224 Assembly seats, the authorities said.

Scrutiny would be taken up tomorrow and the last day for withdrawal of candidature is April 27.

Siddaramaiah filed his papers from Badami in Bagalkot district in north Karnataka.

Seeking to turn the poll battle fiercer, the BJP fielded party Lok Sabha member and Scheduled Tribe leader B Sriramulu, who also filed his papers from Badami, making it his second constituency.

Siddaramaiah has already filed his nomination from Chamundeshwari in Mysuru and Sriramulu from Molakalmuru in Chitradurga district.

The chief minister's nomination from Badami came after days of speculation on whether he would be contesting from a second constituency.

Siddaramaiah after reaching Badami, the regal capital of erstwhile Chalukya dynasty which ruled between the 6th and the 12th centuries, offered prayers at the Banashankari temple and held a roadshow before filing his nomination.

The chief minister was accompanied by Congress working president S R Patil and sitting MLA Chimmanakatti, among others, as he filed his papers.

Speaking to reporters at Badami, Siddaramaiah maintained he was under pressure from local party leaders in Bagalkote and Vijayapura districts to contest from Badami, as it would 'benefit' the Congress' prospects in the region.

He said "there was also pressure on the high command. As the high command directed me to contest from north Karnataka, I'm contesting from here."

Hitting out at the BJP leaders for their taunt that he was contesting from Badami out of fear of defeat in Chamundeshwari, he pointed out that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi had contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from two constituencies.

"Was he scared of defeat?" he questioned.

"People of north Karnataka out of love and affection asked me to contest from the region. Bowing to their demand, the high command and Rahul Gandhi directed me to contest. So I'm contesting," he added.

Badami with a strong presence of Kurubas, the community that Siddaramaiah belongs to, is seen as a far safer option for him than Chamundeshwari, where the battle is projected to be tough.

The Congress had earlier announced Devraj Patil as its candidate from Badami, but his name was replaced with Siddaramaiah in the second list on April 22.

BJP has decided to make Badami tough for Siddaramaiah and, in a last minute move, the party announced Sriramulu as its candidate.

Sriramulu, a close confidant of mining baron G Janardhana Reddy, filed his nomination in the presence of state BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa, Leader of Opposition in the assembly Jagadish Shettar, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar and party general secretary Muralidhar Rao.

A prominent ST leader of BJP in the state, Sriramulu also offered prayers to Banashankari, the deity of Chalukya Empire, before filing his nomination.

Stating that he was contesting from Badami on the orders of the high command, Sriramulu said "our only intention" is BJP's win and to make Yeddyurappa Chief Minister."

He asserted that the BJP was strong in Badami and he would win.