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Congress Finding it Difficult to Get Candidate for Bangalore South

Internal party issues are said to be one of the reasons for former minister Ramalinga Reddy, a seven-time legislator, who has considerable influence in Bangalore South, for declining to contest the polls.


Updated:March 20, 2019, 5:36 PM IST
Congress Finding it Difficult to Get Candidate for Bangalore South
Former Minister Ramalinga Reddy. (Image: Twitter)

Bengaluru: The Congress seems to be finding it difficult to choose a suitable candidate for Bangalore South Lok Sabha constituency that has remained a BJP bastion for long, with several probables including former Minister Ramalinga Reddy declining to contest.

According to Congress sources, along with Reddy, his daughter and Jayanagar MLA Sowmya Reddy, former MLA Priya Krishna and Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Gowda, who were approached to contest the polls from Bangalore South, have declined the offer.

Former Union Minister Ananth Kumar, who died last year, represented Bangalore South after defeating IT czar Nandan Nilekani in the 2014 Parliament polls.

"Initially I wanted to become corporator and to become Mayor, but when I was corporator for the first time, I got assembly ticket and went on to become MLA and then Minister, but I never wished to become a parliamentarian, so I'm not contesting," Ramalinga Reddy told reporters when asked about contesting Lok Sabha polls from Bangalore South.

Stating that he was approached by the party, he said, "as I had never thought about going to Parliament, I said I will not contest."

"There are good and eligible people who are seeking tickets like MLC K Govindaraju and Krishnappa," Reddy said.

"At some places, there will be a fight for a ticket with more aspirants, at some places there will be some (trouble), but we have two to three candidates, we will decide among them," he said.

Reddy said his daughter also declined as she recently got elected as an MLA for the first time.

Internal party issues are said to be one of the reasons for Reddy, a seven-time legislator, who has considerable influence in Bangalore South, for declining to contest the polls.

Reddy, who had openly expressed his disgruntlement with party leadership over not being inducted into the coalition cabinet, is also said to be upset over Deputy Chief

Minister G Parameshwara, who is from neighbouring Tumkur, being made Minister in-charge of Bengaluru city and related affairs, despite seniors MLAs like him from the city.

Sources said it is difficult for the party to breach the BJP bastion of Bangalore South this time too, with so many issues within the party and capable leaders like Reddy, who can challenge the saffron party declining to contest.

Tejaswini Ananth Kumar is likely to be the BJP candidate from Bangalore South, the Lok Sabha constituency that her late husband and former Union Minister Ananth Kumar had represented six times.

Party's local leaders have unanimously endorsed Tejaswini Ananth Kumar's name as the candidate from Bangalore South to party high command, which is likely to announce the list of candidates any time.

Ananth Kumar was a tall BJP leader from Karnataka and was serving as Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister when he died at the age of 59 in November last year.

Kumar first got elected to Lok Sabha in 1996 from Bangalore South, the constituency, which remained his bastion till his death.

Active in public life through not-for-profit organisation Adamya Chetana, Tejaswini had worked as a scientist at Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) between

1993-1997 and also on the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA - Tejas) project.

During her student days, she was very active in Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), and has also served as its State Joint Secretary and National executive member.

Bangalore South has eight assembly segments, with BJP holding five and Congress three after 2018 assembly polls.

True to its cosmopolitan nature, the constituency has a considerable share of Brahmin, Vokkaliga and Muslim voters and a mix of upper and middle-class voters.

While Tejaswini is a Brahmin, Congress is said to be looking for a Vokkaliga candidate as the community accounts for 30 per cent of the electorate there.

The grand old party is also looking for alliance partner JD(S), largely seen as a Vokkaliga party, to transfer its votes to Congress candidate.

Bangalore South that was under the erstwhile Janata Party after the 1980 and 1984 general elections, for a short stint came under Congress with former Chief Minister Gundu Rao as MP after the 1989 polls.

Then from 1991-2014 in successive parliament elections, BJP has held the seat, mostly with Ananth Kumar as MP.

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