Siddaramaiah advised by Kharge, Rahul against contesting from Kolar, told to stick to Varuna

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Opposition leader Siddaramaiah emerging after a meeting of the Congress central election commission in New Delhi on Saturday.

NEW DELH, BENGALURU: Opposition leader Siddaramaiah, who had publicly declared that he will contest the upcoming Assembly election from Kolar, if the party high command agrees, will now, in all probability, be contesting from Varuna constituency. This comes after a suggestion from AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge and party leader Rahul Gandhi at the Congress’ central election committee (CEC) meeting on Friday.

The decision was taken as the party’s internal survey had indicated that Siddaramaiah’s victory from Kolar would not be easy and that infighting could become a headache for him. Kharge and Rahul Gandhi are believed to have told Siddaramaiah that the BJP and the JD(S) may look to keep him bound in Kolar while he would be required to tour the entire state and hence, he shouldn’t take much risk. The Congress leadership is also believed to have told him that the party would give an opportunity to Siddaramaiah’s son Yathindra in the coming days and asked him to focus on his victory from Varuna constituency.

Siddaramaiah leaving the meeting venue in New Delhi on Saturday morning.

Reacting to the development, Siddaramaiah said he knew about it beforehand and added that after a couple of visits to Varuna constituency, he could travel to other parts of the state. “I have left the decision to the high command”, he remarked, sending out a clear signal that he will not be contesting from Kolar.

Upon his return to Bengaluru on Saturday, he reiterated that he had left it to the party high command to decide where he should contest from — Varuna, Badami or Kolar. “The first list will most likely be release on March 22 after Rahul Gandhi’s March 20 visit to the state. We have cleared the names where there were only one applicant and where there was no controversy”, he said. To a question on whether the candidate for Varuna will be announced in the first list, Siddaramaiah said, “Yathindra is the sitting MLA and he was the only applicant from that constituency”. He later held a meeting with his supports including former minister R B Thimmapur.

Siddaramaiah speaking to reporters at his Bengaluru residence on Saturday after his arrival from New Delhi.

Interestingly, Siddaramaiah has suddenly cancelled his participation in the Praja Dhwani Yatra from March 24 to April 1. The Yatra is scheduled to cover Ballari, Koppal, Raichur, Dharwad, Uttara Kannada, Vijayanagara and Bagalkot districts.

With these developments, the BJP camp has also become active and may pitch B Y Vijayendra against Siddaramaiah in Varuna constituency. Though there was talk about it earlier, it had subsided after Siddaramaiah had announced that he will contest from Kolar and there were plans to field Vijayendra from Shikaripur. Now, in the changed scenario, the BJP may field Vijayendra from Varuna to make the going tough for Siddaramaiah, it is being said.

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