BENGALURU: Karnataka former chief minister N Dharam Singh, minister D K Shivakumar and Madhugiri MLA K N Rajanna’s kin are among the 20 candidates finalized by the Congress high command to contest the 25 seats to the legislative council from local authorities’ constituencies polls on December 27, while Kolar ticket has put the party in a fix.

The party has renominated 11 of the 13 outgoing MLCs including IT/BT minister S R Patil. Former minister T John representing Kodagu district has been dropped, while MLC Naseer Ahmed from Kolar declined to contest as he is said to be keen on the Hebbal assembly bypoll. The electoral college of 1.08 lakh voters for the 25 seats comprise the panchayats and civic bodies members from 6,516 local bodies. Counting of votes is on December 30.

Seen as a mini performance test for all parties there is no ceiling on the poll expenditure nor there is reservation of seats. According to Karnataka chief electoral officer Anil Kumar Jha, the expenditure ceiling is only applicable to candidates who contest direct elections either to the state assembly or the Parliament. JD(S) MLA N Cheluvaraswamy said the reservation issue will require amendment to the relevant Act, while Congress functionary Milind Dharmasen felt if the rules don’t provide, the parties should make the quota during selection to ensure social engineering is in place.

Singh’s son Vijay Singh will be making his debut into electoral politics from Bidar, while his brother Ajay Singh represents Jewargi constituency in Kalaburgi district. Rajanna’s son R Rajendra has been given the ticket from Tumakuru, which law minister T B Jayachandra was eyeing for his son Santosh. Shivakumar’s kin S Ravi has been fielded from Bengaluru rural which will see a tough contest with the JD(S) expected to renominate sitting MLC and `Mungaru Male’ film maker E Krishnappa.

According to Congress sources lobbying by party seniors for the Kolar, Dakshina Kannada and Ballari seats made the selection tough. In Dakshina Kannada the tie was between outgoing MLC Pratap Chandra Shetty backed by leader Oscar Fernandes and former MP Jayaprakash Hegde who has threatened to quit the party. In Ballari sitting MLC K C Kondaiah supported by veteran Mallikarjun M Kharge had contenders in Allum Veerabhadrappa and Diwakar Babu.

The Congress is still undecided on the Kolar seat as local MP K H Muniyappa is batting for district unit president and MSIL chairman Anil Kumar, MP M Veerappa Moily has a candidate from Chikballapur while former youth Congress functionary Mohammed Akram is seeking the ticket on grounds that there is no representation to minorities in the list. The BJP has finalized candidates for 12 seats, while the JD(S) is yet to do so. The last date for filing nomination papers is December 9.

Congress list: S R Patil (Bijapur), S Ravi (Bengaluru rural), Veerakumar A Patil (Belagavi), Vijay Singh(Bidar), A V Gayathri (Chikmagaluru), Raghu Achar (Chitradurga), Srinivas Mane (Dharwad), Nagaraj Chebbi (Dharwad), Allumprabhu Patil (Kalaburgi), M A Gopalaswamy (Hassan), Chandra Mouli (Kodagu) L R Shivarame Gowda (Mandya), R Dharmasena (Mysuru), Basavaraj Itagi (Raichur), R Prasanna Kumar (Shivamogga), R Rajendra (Tumakuru), S L Gotnekar(Uttara Kannada), M Narayanaswamy (Bengaluru urban), K C Kondaiah (Ballari) and Pratap Chandra Shetty (Dakshina Kannada).

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Source: TOI-BGLR