As the Bharatiya Janata Party is almost certain to deny bypoll ticket to its defeated candidates in the 2018 Assembly elections, in favour of disqualified MLAs, the State Congress is not averse to inducting them. This will be ahead of the byelection scheduled in 15 constituencies on December 5.
K.C. Venugopal, AICC general secretary in charge of Karnataka, on Tuesday held a day-long meeting with senior leaders at the party office here and discussed a list of candidates to be fielded in the byelection in six constituencies in and around Bengaluru — Shivajinagar, Yeshwantpur, Mahalakshmi Layout, K.R. Puram, Hoskote, and Chickballapur. The probable candidates in other constituencies will be discussed in another meeting, sources said.
The final list of candidates in 15 constituencies will be announced after obtaining approval from the party high command. Mr. Venugopal told mediapersons that the party would induct defeated BJP candidates only after discussions with senior leaders. “We will induct them on the basis of merit,” he said.
The BJP government has already appointed a few of the defeated BJP candidates as heads of government boards/corporations. However, in a few constituencies, the defeated candidates have threatened to enter the poll fray if the party fielded the disqualified legislators. For instance, Sharath Bache Gowda has threatened to enter the poll fray from Hoskote if the party fielded N. Nagaraju (MTB), who was qualified from Assembly membership.
Mr. Venugopal also discussed the impact of I-T searches on the party’s image and alleged that they were politically motivated. “The BJP government has been targeting only leaders of the Congress in poll-bound States,” he said.
Siddaramaiah told to shun groupism
In a stern message to former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, the Congress high command has told the leader to take full responsibility of the bypoll campaign to ensure victory in 15 constituencies.
Sources in the party said that K.C. Venugopal, AICC general secretary in charge of Karnataka, conveyed AICC president Sonia Gandhi’s message to Mr. Siddaramaiah, who has been appointed as Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly, despite opposition from a section of party leaders.
The party high command told the former Chief Minister to take all leaders along with him and shun groupism.
Many leaders abstain from meeting
Several senior leaders abstained from the meeting called by K.C. Venugopal, AICC general secretary in charge of Karnataka, on Tuesday, apparently to show their resentment against appointment of former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah as Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly.
Senior leaders M. Veerappa Moily, K.H. Muniyappa, H.K. Patil, and B.K. Hariprasad abstained from the meeting called to set aside differences among the Congress leaders as well as discuss the bypoll strategy.
These leaders have been opposing the leadership of Mr. Siddaramaiah for some time now and blaming him for the Congress’s poor show in the 2019 general elections.