Congress legislature party leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Saturday said he wants to contest from two seats in the upcoming Karnataka Assembly polls, as the party fielded him from his home turf of Varuna in Mysuru district.
He said he wants to contest from Kolar too along with Varuna, if the party agrees.
The Congress earlier in the day announced its first list of 124 candidates for the polls, due by May, which included the announcement of Siddaramiah’s candidacy from Varuna. This marks the return of the 75-year-old leader to his home constituency, which is currently represented by his son Yathindra Siddaramaiah, after a gap of five years.
Siddaramaiah had earlier won twice from Varuna in 2008 and 2013, and even went on to become the Chief Minister after winning from there in 2013.
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The Leader of Opposition in Karnataka had zeroed in on Varuna, after weighing on various options.
”I had said, it is left for the high command to decide (regarding the constituency). High Command has asked me to contest from Varuna. I have said, I will contest from two constituencies, from Kolar and here, again it is left to the high command,” Siddaramaih said.
Speaking to reporters here, he said, his son Yathidra will not be contesting from any constituency. The Congress has not yet announced any candidate for the Kolar seat, and also Badami, which Siddaramaiah currently represents.
According to some party functionaries, Siddaramaiah, in the event of winning from both the seats, plans to vacate Varuna seat, and field Yathindra from there in the subsequent bypolls.
Siddaramaiah, who is nursing Chief Ministerial ambitions in the event party coming to power, and was looking for a ”safe seat”, had announced in January that he will be contesting the polls from the Kolar, reportedly after conducting surveys, subject to the approval of the party’s Central leadership. However, there were reports last week that Congress leadership including Rahul Gandhi, during the party’s Central Election Committee meeting, had advised Siddaramaiah not to contest from Kolar, which is said to be “risky” for him.
Following this, Siddaramaiah on Tuesday told a large group of supporters from Kolar, who had gathered near his residence here, that the Congress high command had asked him not to take even ‘1 per cent risk’ while choosing a constituency to contest the elections.
Siddaramaiah, who currently represents Badami segment of Bagalkote district in northern parts of the State, has repeatedly indicated that he may not contest from there, citing his inability to give more time for people and party workers of the constituency as the reason. Siddaramaiah, who has announced that 2023 Assembly polls will be his last, has made it clear that he would not contest from his former Chamundeshwari constituency in Mysuru. As the then sitting Chief Minister, he lost the 2018 polls in Chamundeshwari to JD(S) G T Deve Gowda by 36,042 votes.
He, however, won Badami, the other constituency from where he had contested the 2018 polls, and defeated B Sriramulu (BJP) by 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 Yatindra (MLA) in the 2018 Assembly polls and went back to his old constituency of Camundeshwari.