Senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Friday said the 2023 assembly election will be his last, but will continue to remain in politics.
The Leader of Opposition in the state assembly said he is yet to decide on the constituency from where he will contest the next election, and will abide by the party’s decision regarding the Congress’ chief ministerial face for the polls.
”I will remain in politics, but electoral politics – most likely the next assembly election will be the last that I will be contesting,” Siddaramaiah told reporters at his native village Siddaramanahundi here.
Responding to a question on which constituency he will be contesting from, he said there is still one more year for the assembly elections, and is yet to take a call in this regard.
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”Party workers and well-wishers from Varuna, Hunsur, Chamarajpet, Badami, Kolar, Hebbal, Koppal and Chamundeshwari are asking me to contest from their constituencies. I’m yet to decide from where (to fight the polls),” he added.
There have been speculation within the party for some time now that the former chief minister, who currently represents Badami in north Karnataka, may return to his home turf of the old Mysuru region or somewhere in Bengaluru for the next assembly election.
His loyalist and Chamarajpet legislator B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan, who is among those projecting him as the CM face for the next assembly polls, that caused some differences within the party, has even offered to vacate the constituency for the Congress Legislature Party leader.
Siddaramaiah has already said he will not contest again from Chamundeshwari assembly constituency in Mysuru, where he had tasted defeat during the 2018 assembly polls.
To a question on contesting from Chamundeshwari constituency, he said, ”I was defeated in the last election in the same constituency where I had got my political rebirth. But it doesn’t mean that I will forget the people of Chamundeshwari. They had made me win five times and gave me political strength to this level.” Siddaramaiah, the then sitting chief minister, had lost in Chamundeshwari in 2018 to JD(S) G T Deve Gowda by a margin of over 36,042 votes.
He, however, won Badami, the other constituency from where he had contested, defeating BJP’s B Sriramulu by a margin of just 1,696 votes.
Making his debut in the Assembly in 1983, Siddaramaiah had got elected from Chamundeshwari on a Lok Dal Party ticket. He has won five times from this constituency and tasted defeat thrice.
After neighbouring Varuna became a constituency in 2008 following delimitation, Siddaramaiah represented it till he vacated the seat for his son Dr Yatindra (MLA) in the 2018 assembly polls and went back to his old constituency of Camundeshwari.
Ahead of the May 2018 assembly polls, Siddaramaiah had said it would ”most likely” be his last election.
Earlier, during the 2013 assembly polls too, he had said that it was his last election and went on to become chief minister after the polls.
Asked whether he will ask for the chief ministerial face of the party to be announced before the 2023 election, as was done in Punjab, Siddaramaiah said, ”I will not ask for such things. I will go by the decision of the Congress high command.” It is no secret that Siddaramaiah, who was chief minister between 2013-2018, is nursing his ambition for a second term in office, if the party wins the next assembly polls.
With State Congress President D K Shivakumar too having similar aspirations, it has triggered a game of one-upmanship between the two leaders.