Last Minute Surprises As Nominations Close For Karnataka Assembly Polls

Karnataka assembly elections 2018: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and BJP's B Sriramulu have filed nominations for the Badami constituency

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Karnataka polls: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is contesting from Badami and Chamundeshwari


Bengaluru:  On the last day of filing nominations for the Karnataka assembly elections that are due next month, there were surprises right up to the last minute, especially in Badami constituency that witnessed shows of strength by political heavyweights from the Congress and the BJP.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah offered prayers at a local temple and held a road show before filing his nomination papers from the constituency in north Karnataka, the second seat he is standing from. He will be up against BJP parliamentarian B Srimaulu, a close aide of mining barons Reddy brothers, who flew in on a helicopter to file his papers.

Mr Siddaramaiah, who is also contesting from Chamundeshwari in southern Mysuru district, said he was confident of winning the Badami seat as well though he did not know till the last moment who his opponent would be. 

"I am least bothered by who will contest against me (in Badami). Whether it is Sriramulu or Yeddyurappa, I have faith in the voters. They will not leave me," he said.

The BJP was quick to point out that the Chief Minister contesting from two seats was a sign of lack of confidence.

"Every top Congress leader, including Siddaramaiah, knows he is not going to win, that's why they are contesting from two seats," said BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra.
 
sriramulu

BJP has fielded B Sriramulu against Siddaramaiah in Badami

Another much-anticipated poll battle in Varuna, a seat Mr Siddaramaiah's son Dr Yathindra is contesting in his debut election, will no longer happen. It was widely believed that the BJP would field BS Yeddyurappa's son Vijayendra there. But in a change of plan that saw emotional BJP workers protesting in Mysuru, the party made Mr Vijayendra the general secretary of the BJP's youth wing instead. 

Apart from Sriramulu, two other men connected to Janardhana Reddy -- his brothers Karunakara and Somashekhara -- have been given tickets by the BJP. The Reddy brothers, as they are called, were at the heart of Karnataka's biggest iron-ore mining scandal that had cost Mr Yeddyurappa the chief minister's post in 2011.

Last month, BJP chief Amit Shah had said the "BJP had no relationship with Janardhana Reddy".

"People are saying that under PM Modi-Amit Shah, the 'Republic of Bellary' is back," said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.

Film star Ambareesh, who was given the Congress ticket for Mandya, finally decided not to contest, saying he was too old to campaign. The Rebel Star as he is called was dropped as a minister by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in 2016.


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