Karnataka’s former chief minister Siddaramaiah has reportedly been advised by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to contest elections from Varuna constituency instead of Kolar. Sources said that the suggestion was made during the party’s Central Election Committee (CEC) meeting held in New Delhi on Friday.
Sources quoted Gandhi as saying that Kolar is not suitable for the former CM. “Your each minute and move is crucial and need by the party," Gandhi reportedly told Siddaramaiah. Reports said that the former CM is likely to follow the advice, and will discuss it with the party leadership.
Reacting to Congress’ decision, Karnataka revenue minister R Ashok said in Bellary, “Siddaramaiah should go to Pakistan, Afghanistan or Bangladesh. May be they can win in these countries. Whether Siddaramaiah contests from Varuna or anywhere in Karnataka, Congress is not going to win. He had faced defeat in Chamundeshwari, and is now fleeing Badami too."
Siddaramaiah had contested the 2018 assembly election from two assembly seats - Chamundeshwari and Badami. While he lost the Chamundeshwari seat with a huge victory margin of over 36,000 votes against the JD(S) candidate G T Deve Gowda, Badami was his face saver though he won with a narrow victory margin of about 1,700 votes against BJP’s B Sriramulu.
The former CM had in January clarified that he was not contesting from Badami because it was too far away and age was a factor keeping him from contest the elections there.
“People of Badami want me there and are ready to even sponsor a helicopter but due to age related issues and distance, I have decided to fight election from Kolar," he said, adding that the final decision lays with the Congress high command.
Why Siddaramaiah Wanted to Contest from Kolar?
Dalit, Muslim, and Kuruba voters make up the Kolar Assembly constituency. Congress and JDS are the dominant parties in this constituency. The Ahinda community now supports Siddaramaiah, making him their preferred leader. After the Lingayats and Okkaligas, the Kuruba community, to which the ex-CM belongs, is the largest in the state.
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It is also one of the communities in Kolar that determines the winner. Along with that, Muslim voters play a significant role in Kolar’s electoral outcome. Siddharamiah’s secular stance has always endeared him to the Muslim population — another reason why he probably chose Kolar.
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