LS polls: Five out of 17 Congress candidates in Karnataka relatives of ministers

The committee is yet to finalise the candidates for Kolar, Chitradurga, Chikkaballapur, Chamarajanagar and Bellary constituencies.
LS polls: Five out of 17 Congress candidates in Karnataka relatives of ministers
Anjali Raj / Jaano Junction

The Karnataka Congress on Thursday announced the names of 17 candidates for the Lok Sabha election, which is slated to occur in two phases.

The committee, headed by Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge, is yet to finalise the candidates for Kolar, Chitradurga, Chikkaballapur, Chamarajanagar and Bellary constituencies.

The Congress had earlier announced candidates for seven seats.

The 17 candidates include the children of five state Cabinet ministers. This distribution of tickets has emerged as a topic of debate among party members regarding the choice of candidates with political backgrounds.

Most of the tickets have been allocated to "dynasty" candidates to face the BJP-JD(S) alliance in Karnataka.

BJP leader Basanagowda Patil Yatnal criticized the Congress for prioritizing dynasty politics over nurturing grassroots workers within the party.

"The Congress party is known for favouring dynasty politics over providing opportunities for its grassroots workers," said BJP Leader Basanagowda Patil Yatnal.

A detailed examination of the list reveals the inclusion of several candidates with significant political lineage and financial backing.

These include Priyanka Jarakiholi, daughter of Satish Jarakiholi, a prominent figure in the Belagavi region, who secured a ticket from Chikkodi despite it being her debut in elections.

The powerful "Jarakiholi family" in the Belagavi region already holds many key posts in Karnataka. Priyanka Jarakiholi whose father is Satish Jarakiholi a Cabinet Minister for PWD, has been given a ticket from Chikkodi. It's her first election, and she has received a Lok Sabha ticket.

The Belagavi ticket has been given to DK Shivakumar-backed Cabinet Minister Lakshmi Hebbalkar's son, Mrinal, who is entering politics with a Lok Sabha ticket.

Rajshekhar Patil, a former minister, who was demanding a Lok Sabha ticket from Bidar, has been overlooked and instead, the Congress party has given a ticket to Sagar Khandre, the young son of Karnataka Cabinet Minister Eshwar Khandre.

The Koppal ticket has been given to Rajshekar Hitnal, who is the brother of MLA and Siddaramaiah follower Raghavendra Hitnal.

The Davanagere ticket has been allotted to Prabha Mallikarjun, who is Cabinet Minister SS Mallikarjun's wife and daughter-in-law of senior Lingayat leader and MLA Shamanur Shivshankarappa.

The Bengaluru South ticket has been given to Soumya Reddy, who is Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy's daughter. She lost the 2023 assembly election from Jayanagar against BJP Candidate Ramamurthy.

The ticket for Bengaluru Rural has been given to DK Suresh, the State Congress President and Deputy CM DK Shivakumar's brother.

The Shivamogga ticket has been given to former CM Bangarappa's daughter, actor Shivaraj Kumar's wife, and Cabinet Minister Madhu Bangarappa's sister, Geetha Shivarajkumar.

The JDS stronghold Hassan Congress ticket has been allotted to Shreyas Patel, who is Puttaswamy Gowda's grandson.

"The list itself proves the agenda of the Congress ticket-sharing idea. It has nothing to do with social justice; it's about the next generation entry of politically-backed families. Workers like us, who are working day and night, are still on the streets campaigning for them," said a lady Congress worker who has been working in Congress for more than two decades.

The BJP leaders argue that this candidate list reflects the Congress's inclination towards dynastic political legacies rather than promoting social justice or meritocracy within the party.

BJP spokesperson S Prakash denounced the list, alleging that it exposes the Congress's false claims of championing social justice, asserting that it primarily benefits leaders' relatives.

Criticizing the list of candidates, BJP spokesperson S Prakash said, "The list shows the fake narrative of the Congress, which dramatically talks of social justice. It's only justice for their leaders' sons, brothers, and daughters."

The Congress in Karnataka, which desperately needs to win more numbers in the 28 Lok Sabha seats (having won just one seat from Bengaluru Rural (DK Suresh)), asked and consulted many ministers to contest. After their denial, it has fielded new-generation youngsters to Lok Sabha, giving responsibility to their families to win the seat.

"We need to have more numbers to raise a voice in parliament in favour of Karnataka. I wish all the best to all who got tickets," wished CM Siddaramaiah.

On the other side, the BJP is also in a dilemma to win more seats from Karnataka to retain its old record. This time, JD(S) has also announced their support in 25 Lok Sabha seats except Kolar, Hassan, and Mandya, which JD(S) is demanding.

In many constituencies, the announced list has led to internal fights, creating significant tension within the BJP.

Mandhuswamy, a former minister who wanted a ticket from Tumakuru, has been passed over in favour of V Somanna, who lost in the Varuna and Chamarajanagar assembly constituencies in the 2023 assembly elections.

After the candidate for Bengaluru North was changed due to backlash against Shobha Karandlaje from Udupi-Chickamagalur, MP Sadananda Gowda announced his retirement from electoral politics. He expressed his unhappiness and stated that one family is controlling the BJP in the state, indirectly attacking BS Yediyurappa's family.

KS Eshwarappa has become a thorn in the side of BS Yediyurappa's family and the BJP from Shivamogga. He announced that he would contest independently against BY Raghavendra and stated that the BJP in Karnataka is under the control of one family, BS Yediyurappa's family, and he wants to cleanse it.

Prajwal Revanna, son of MLA Revanna and grandson of HD Devegowda, is most likely to be fielded from Hassan, but BJP leaders and cadre have shown no interest in this and are opposing the decision.

Former two-time CM, JDS MLA, and JDS state president HD Kumaraswamy is likely to contest from Mandya, as Sumalatha, a BJP-supported independent candidate, is likely to miss the ticket.

The JDS is also demanding a Lok Sabha seat from Kolar, stating favouritism towards the JDS in the Kolar constituency.

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LS polls: Five out of 17 Congress candidates in Karnataka relatives of ministers

The Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka are scheduled to take place in two phases. The first phase, involving 14 constituencies, will be held on April 26. The second phase, also involving 14 constituencies, will take place on May 7.

Source: Hindustan Times

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