In 'favourable' poll season, progeny of Congress netas make beeline for tickets

4/4/2018

Bangalore/New Delhi,

In the run up to the crucial polls in Karnataka wherein poll pundits rate. Congress in an 'advantage' stage, the progeny of netas are eyeing party tickets and among those who are likely to be obliged include Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's son Dr Yathindra. In fact, grapevine is once it was made clear that Siddaramaiah will be given "almost a free hand" in chalking out party's poll strategy and also be the 'face' of the party, the Chief Minister had made it clear that his seat Varuna should go to his son and that he would move to Chamundeshwari. Dr Yathindra, who ran a pathology lab, is actually only a reluctant entrant to politics and plunged into it after his elder brother Rakesh Siddaramaiah, the eldest son of Chief Minister, died of multi-organ failure in Belgium in 2016. Among others, Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy is keen to field his daughter Sowmya Reddy from Jayanagar while Public Works Minister HC Mahadevappa wants that his seat T Narsipur goes to his son Sunil Bose. But the corruption' tag could be used by Mahadevappa's detractors. In 2016, a session judge in Mysuru had summoned Sunil Bose in connection with a Lokayukta case booked against a senior geologist for demanding bribe to issue permit to transport sand. Mr Mahadevappa has offered to move to CV Raman Nagar constituency - a request that is being opposed by the powerful 43-member election screening committee formed by party president Rahul Gandhi. Apparently, the Congress leadership does not want to antagonise local leader P Ramesh who had lost the seat to BJP five years back. In fact, BJP has been winning the seat from 2008 on wards. Without doubt, the game of dynastic politics is nothing new in Congress and in fact in 2013 polls also, the party had given tickets to 18 candidates who are relatives of big time netas. Among them also included B K Shivaram, a retired police official and brother of onetime trusted aide of Rahul Gandhi - BK Hariprasad. Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge's son Priyank was given party ticket to contest from Chittapur constituency and the honour may be vested upon him yet again. In 2013, Congress list of relatives included Kumar Bangarappa, son of former C M S. Bangarappa and Dinesh Gundu Rao, also a son of another former CM Gundu Rao. Incidentally, Kumar Bangarappa, who won the seat in 2004 on Congress ticket but lost in 2008 and 2013, has joined BJP and is seeking saffron party ticket from Sorab Assembly constituency in Shivamogga district. In yet another coincidence and accidental politics, Kumar's brother Madhu Bangarappa is seeking re-election on JD(S) ticket from the same assembly segment. The Congress high command has given so far mixed signals. A section of leaders stress that the emphasis is purely on 'victory' as Karnataka win will certainly put Congress on the road to revival at the national level, while at the same time others say the 'new Congress chief' (Rahul Gandhi) wants to encourage new talent and also wants to push the younger lots. It is in view of these mixed signals Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee chief G Parameshwara - and his associates - had insisted on restricting the ticket distribution to ‘One family, One ticket’ policy. The suggestion was more taken as a 'tool' devised to deprive Chief Minister Siddaramaiah get ticket for his son and Mr Rahul Gandhi seemed to have given his nod in favour of the Chief Minister only. "The Congress as a political party has legacy of children succeeding their parents and walking in their shoes. Therefore, the argument of winnability has come as a big opportunity for sons, daughters and even grand children of established players. And we are not surprised by this," a senior Congress leader, whose son is a ticket aspirant, told. Sources said on March 15, the screening committee has already shortlisted the names of ticket aspirants from over 3000 to around 1500 for 224-member assembly. Out of these, the state unit has favoured repeating most of the sitting 123 legislators - allowing of course modest changes in constituencies especially keeping the caste factors in mind. Interesting political permutation and combination has surfaced in Chamundeahwari constituency -- where Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is all set to contest. Actually it is in this segment under Mysuru district that Siddaramaiah 'rebuilt' his entire political career as a socialist and a lieutenant of former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda.