Setback to 'migrant' Siddaramaiah as Cong high command fields 'loyalists'
The Congress high command's choice of candidates for the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls from the state is seen as a setback to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who had been emerging as a powerful regional leader of the party. While giving prominence to young and loyal leaders -- Nasir Hussain, L Hanumanthaiah and G C Chandrashekhar, the high command has chosen to ignore names proposed by the chief minister.
The high command's decision in this regard is also perceived as a victory to the party "loyalists" and blow to "migrants" in the state unit. The loyalists (leaders who have been with the party for over decades) and the migrants (those who migrated from other parties in the recent years) have been at loggerheads ever since Siddaramaiah (considered a migrant) became the chief minister. The loyalists had been complaining that they were being sidelined and, hence, a section of these aggrieved leaders had kept themselves away from the campaign for the Assembly polls. Nasir Hussain, who is the party's first candidate in the Rajya Sabha polls, is an AICC spokesperson. He hails from Ballari. L Hanumanthaiah, who is a Dalit poet, is the party's second candidate. He hails from Doddaballapur in Bengaluru Rural district. Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge had backed their candidature.
G C Chandrashekhar, who is the third candidate, is a close follower of KPCC president. G Parameshwara. He belongs to the Vokkaliga community. Siddaramaiah, party sources said, had proposed the name of his close aide and realtor. P R Channa Reddy as the third candidate and advised the party to field a leader from the Lingayat community, which he is trying to woo ahead of the Assembly polls. He was keen on fielding veteran leader Shamanur Shivashankarappa who has been opposing the state government's move to accord separate religion tag to the Lingayat faith.
But the high command chose to appease the Dalit left wing community (Madigas) by fielding Hanumanthaiah. The community has been upset with the ruling Congress for not providing internal reservation. Similarly, Chandrashekar was selected as the third candidate in an effort to woo Vokkaligas, who had been complaining that the party had neglected them by not given them proper representation. Siddaramaiah's only solace is, however, is that the high command has gone by his advise not to support the JD(S) in the elections scheduled on March 23. He had warned that supporting the JD(S) would be interpreted by the Opposition parties that the ruling party is not confident of winning the coming Assembly polls on its own.