The ruling party is finding it difficult to compete with BJP’s strategy

BENGALURU: The BJP’s chess-board strategy of shifting sitting MLAs and experimenting with new faces in its second list of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections has made it a tough task for the Congress to set up strong contests.

Ministers in Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s cabinet are holding back from contesting the elections due to various reasons including the PM Modi factor. “With no other option, the party leadership may give tickets to relatives of top leaders and ministers, and try low-profile new faces on some seats as there are no takers,” a source said.
The Congress, which had announced its first list of seven candidates, kept postponing the second list. The BJP has replaced sitting MP Pratap Simha with royal family scion Yaduveer Krishnadutt Chamaraja Wadiyar as its candidate from Mysuru-Kodagu, apparently making things difficult for the Congress.
Except for KPCC spokesperson M Lakshman, who is likely to be the final candidate, many potential candidates are withdrawing. Interestingly, though the name of Siddaramaiah’s son and former MLA Dr Yatindra had initially created a stir, as soon as Yaduveer’s name cropped up, he too backed down, said a source.
Shifting Shobha Karandlaje from Udupi-Chikkamagaluru to Bengaluru North and fielding Kota Srinivas Pujari also helped the BJP to some extent. But Congress is committed to fielding former Backward Classes Commission Chairman K. Jayaprakash Hegde. The party also faces a tough challenge in Chamarajanagar, Kolar, Belagavi, Chikkodi, Ballari, Davanagere and other seats as ministers Dr HC Mahadevappa, KH Muniyappa, Satish Jarkiholi, Nagendra and SS Mallikarjun are not ready to contest the elections, although their names are were proposed. In the meeting of Congress Screening Committee.
According to sources, the name of Soumya Reddy, daughter of Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy, has been finalized for Bengaluru South and Mansoor Ali Khan, son of former Union Minister K Rehman Khan, has been finalized for Bengaluru Central. But KPCC president DK Shivakumar’s efforts to convince Govindraj Nagar MLA Priya Krishna to contest from Bengaluru North went in vain.
The Congress may experiment in Dakshina Kannada by fielding R Padmaraju, a member of the Bilwa community and trustee of the Kudroli Gokarnatheshwar temple, against BJP’s Captain Brijesh Chowta. Since AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge is unlikely to contest the elections, the name of his son-in-law Radhakrishna Dodamani is almost certain.
Modi is scared of Kharge: DKS
DCM DK Shivakumar told the media on Sunday that the Congress Election Committee (CEC) meeting will be held on Tuesday and the second list may be released on Wednesday. “Modi has started his campaign from Karnataka, especially Kalaburagi. This shows that he is scared of Kharge. He said, Congress will win 20 seats in Karnataka including Kalaburagi.
He said that the Guarantee Implementation Committee members will meet at the state, district and taluk levels on Thursday, where they will be assigned the responsibilities of the Lok Sabha elections.

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