Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah -- whose decision to contest from Chamundeshwari seat is seen by many as a risky move -- today said he still has an "option", rekindling hopes of supporters that he may yet contest from a second seat. The Chief Minister's safe seat Varuna is going to his son Yathindra, a doctor making his debut in politics.
- The Chief Minister's safe seat Varuna is going to his son Yatheendra
- Siddaramaiah had announced his intention to run from Chamundeshwari
- Congress is yet to name candidates for 6 seats in next month's elections
The Congress is yet to name candidates for six seats in the assembly elections that is less than a month away.
Over the weekend, Mr Siddaramaiah had announced his intention to run from Chamundeshwari, dismissing the buzz that his choice could be Badami in north Karnataka. Dr Devraj Patil was named as the candidate for Badami in the Congress list of 218 candidates that was announced on Sunday night.
But Mr Siddaramaiah told NDTV today that the candidate is yet to get the "B form" -- which makes a candidature official and allows the use of the party symbol. The last date of filing nominations is April 24.
"Badami people are still insisting. I am not keen personally on contesting from two seats, but the option is there," he told NDTV in an exclusive interview.
Party insiders say while the Chief Minister was keen on contesting from two seats, the idea was vetoed by the senior leadership. It was suggested that reserving a second seat for the Chief Minister, that too outside his home turf Mysuru, would signal weakness. It would provide a perfect opportunity for the opposition, the Central leaders had reasoned.
Last week, in an informal interaction, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi indicated that there was no plan of fielding Siddaramaiah from two seats. On Monday, the chief minister had agreed, saying though the locals of Badami asked him to contest, "there was no question of doing it".
Though Mr Siddaramaiah has won five of the seven elections he contested from Chamundeshwari, it is expected to be a tough battle.
Mr Siddaramaiah barely managed to win his last election from Chamundeshwari in 2006, scraping through a margin of 257 votes. He was contesting from the Congress, after being expelled by the Janata Dal Secular, or JD(S).
After the delimitation in 2008, as most of his supporters from Chamundeshwari became part of the Varuna seat, he migrated too, winning twice from Varuna in 2008 and 2013.
The Chamundeshwari seat is currently held by GT Devegowda of the JD(S). And there is speculation in the Congress camp that a tacit understanding exists between former Prime Minister Deve Gowda's party and the BJP.
Mr Siddaramaiah told NDTV that he was absolutely confident of victory from Chamundeshwari. Even last time, the BJP and the JDS, despite working together, had not been able to defeat him, he said.