Five father-children duos in Congress’ first list of candidates for Karnataka polls

Bengaluru: The first list of candidates announced by the Congress on Sunday threw up five father-children duos who will battle it out in the crucial May 12 assembly elections in Karnataka.
Two such pairs have contested previously and three debutants have been fielded alongside their fathers.
The most prominent among them are Siddaramaiah and his son Yathindra, who will contest from the neighboring constituencies of Chamundeshwari and Varuna, which the Chief Minister vacated for his son.
State home minister Ramalinga Reddy’s daughter Soumya will contest from the Jayanagar constituency, which is next to the BTM Layout constituency, currently held by her father.
Reddy was a five-time legislator from the Jayanagar constituency from 1989 to 2008 before it was split into Jayanagar and BTM layout constituencies after delimitation in 2008. Reddy won the two subsequent elections from BTM Layout.
Reddy said while speaking to the Hindustan Times that he was confident that his daughter would win the Jayanagar seat.
“I had previously won from there, so I definitely know the constituency. Besides, the BJP legislator has anti-incumbency against him,” he added.
Law minister TB Jayachandra’s son Santhosh is set to contest from the Chikkanayakanahalli constituency in Tumakuru district, while his father will once again contest from the Sira seat.
The father-son duos of M. Krishanappa and Priya Krishna, and Shamanur Shivashankarappa and S.S. Mallikarjun have been fielded once again. Krishna was the richest MLA in the previous election with declared assets of Rs 911 crore.
Shivashankarappa and his son, who are Lingayats, had opposed their own party-led state government’s move to recognize the sect as a separate religious minority.
The Congress leadership has come under fire for giving tickets to sons and daughters of senior leaders, bypassing the earlier one family-one ticket norm followed in some states, including Punjab.
Working president of the party’s Karnataka unit Dinesh Gundu Rao said the decisions to give tickets were all taken keeping the likelihood of victory in mind.
“In the case of really tall leaders, their families, too, become politically prominent. So these people are connected with their constituencies and the people there. Hence, we picked them because we feel they are likely to win,” Gundu Rao said.
“In the case of Yathindra, it had already been announced that he would contest from Varuna. In fact, our discussions were more centered on trying to find the Chief Minister a seat to contest from,” he said.
“In selecting Santhosh and Soumya we have actually posed them a challenge. In Chikkanayakanahalli, our candidates lost deposits in the past four elections, and there hasn’t been a Congress legislator from that constituency for 40 years,” said Gundu Rao, whose father was a former Chief Minister of the state.
“In Jayanagar, after the constituency was split in 2008 and her father shifted to the BTM Layout constituency, the BJP has won the two subsequent elections,” he said.
Gundu Rao, while explaining the decision on other debutants whose family members are senior party leaders, said in the case of Roopa Shashidhar, former Union minister K.H. Muniyappa’s daughter, too, the constituency was not a safe seat as the party had not won there in the last few contests.
The spouses of two recently deceased ‘sitting’ legislators have also been fielded. Former minister Qamarul Islam’s wife K Fatima will contest from his erstwhile constituency of Kalaburagi Uttar. Kirtana Rudre Gowda, the wife of YN Rudresh Gowda who died recently, is contesting from Belur.
In the first list of 218 candidates for the 224 seats released by the ruling party, 103 of the 122 sitting MLAs have been given the tickets.
Karnataka is one of the three states where it is still in power and the Bharatiya Janata Party is pushing for a comeback in the southern state ahead of the Lok Sabha elections next year.
A win for the Congress would come as a huge boost not just for the party but also Rahul Gandhi, who took over as the party chief in December and has been aggressively taking on the Modi government in public as well as social media.
The Congress won 122 out of 224 seats in the last assembly polls held in 2013.

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