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‘Congress to field Cabinet minister in LS polls in K’taka’

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Bengaluru, Feb 20 (IANS) In a bid to secure the maximum number of Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka, Congress has decided to field Cabinet ministers as candidates for the upcoming parliamentary elections.

“The party is considering the candidatures of Minister for Cooperation K.N. Rajanna or Minister for Home G. Parameshwara for the Tumakuru MP seat. Along with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s son Yathindra, Minister for Social Welfare H.C. Mahadevappa is being considered for the Mysuru-Kodagu parliamentary constituency. The Minister for PWD Satish Jarkiholi is being discussed for the Belagavi Constituency,” sources said.Sources said that Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar is also using the situation to his advantage and advocating for the fielding of senior cabinet ministers who are close confidantes of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.“These ministers have been supporting the Chief Minister and challenging Shivakumar’s supremacy in the party and the government. Minister Rajanna’s recent outburst that he is loyal to the party but not a slave to the high command was also issued in this backdrop,” sources said.They said that the ministers’ refusal to contest Lok Sabha elections is the primary reason for the delay in finalising the candidates.“The cabinet ministers are not ready to lose their positions merely nine months after assuming power, considering the serious setback to their political careers and fearing the advantageous position of the BJP,” sources explained.On refusal by some ministers to contest the Lok Sabha elections, the Deputy Chief Minister said that the party will decide who will contest the upcoming polls and everyone has to respect the decision. “All of us have to work towards winning more seats for the party,” the Deputy Chief Minister said.Sources said that Congress Karnataka in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala, in the recently held Congress Legislature Party Meeting in Bengaluru, had said that the contest of ministers is inevitable and they should be ready. “Any cabinet minister could be asked to contest elections,” Surjewala has said in the meeting.The AICC and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) will conduct separate surveys and finalise the candidates. “The district in-charge ministers have also suggested candidates to the party. However, the party has decided to go with the candidate’s winnability,” sources said.“Disintegration of INDIA bloc, Karnataka unit’s ‘Delhi Chalo’ agitation, and attacks on the Central government over alleged injustice to Karnataka in terms of fund allotment have not yielded the desired results for the party. The alliance with JD (S) is another major factor contributing to Congress fear,” sources said.Leader of the Opposition (LoP) R. Ashoka, while talking about advocates’ protest in Ramanagara, has said that there is a rift between Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy Chief Minister Shivakumar indicating all is not well between them.There are 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka. BJP had won 25 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections while Congress managed to win only one seat. JD (S) had won one, and an independent candidate had won the other.–IANS mka/dan

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