BENGALURU। For the first time in the history of Karnataka, the incumbent chief minister and his son are likely to contest in the same Assembly election. The chief minister Siddaramaiah, a veteran of nine Assembly polls has decided to vacate his seat Varuna for his doctor son Yatheendra and to shift to neighbouring Chamundeshwari his original seat in Mysore district. It is a first in Karnataka politics. In 1994 the then Janata Dal chief ministerial candidate H D Deve Gowda had vacated his seat Holenarasipura in Hassan district for his son H D Revanna by moving to Ramanagara near Bengaluru. Both of them won that election and father became CM and 18 months later even the PM.
It is not just Siddaramaiah who is batting for his son, over a dozen Congress ministers and leaders are also lobbying for their sons and daughters. At last count there were 15 from Congress alone.
The main opposition BJP and the third player JDS are also facing the same problem.
Between 1983 and 2008 Siddaramaiah had represented Chamundeshwari assembly seat five times. After the delimitation he moved to neighbouring Varuna constituency. His political heir apparent and the eldest son Rakesh died in Belgium in 2016 forcing the chief minister to push his second and the youngest son, a practicing doctor Yatheendra to into politics. Initially he was reluctant to step into his deceased brother’s shoes and showed no interest. But he seems to have learnt the ropes in the recent months.
Speaking to News18 Siddaramaiah said “there has been a demand from the public that Yatheendra should contest from Varuna. I have decided to go back to my old seat Chamundeshwari. My son will contest only if the Congress high command agrees to his nomination. I don’t decide the tickets”.
According to a KPCC office bearer over 15 ministers and top leaders have asked for two seats – one for them and one for the children. The PWD minister Dr. H C Mahadevappa’s son Suneel Bose is an aspirant from T Narasipura in Mysore district currently held by his father. Mahadevappa is planning to shift to CV Raman Nagara seat in central Bengaluru.
The Law and Parliamentary Affairs minister T B Jayachandra’s son Santhosh is eyeing Chikkanayakanahalli in Tumkur district. The Urban Development minister R Roshan Baig has asked the party to give his seat to son Rehan Baig and send him to Rajya Sabha. Former Union minister K Rahman Khan wants the party to field his son Mansoor Ali Khan from Jayanagara in south Bengaluru. Home minister R Ramalingareddy’s daughter Soumya Reddy is also eyeing the same seat complicating the job of tickets screening committee. The Congress veteran C K Jaffer Sharief is once again trying to field his grandson Rehman Sharief from Hebbal in central Bengaluru. He had lost last time to BJP.
Another Congress stalwart Margaret Alva has been demanding a ticket for her youngest son Nivedith Alva from Sirsi in Uttara Kannada district. After the 2008 Assembly polls debacle, an angry Alva had lashed out at the high command for giving tickets to some and denying it to others. She was even removed as AICC general secretary for speaking out.
The veteran Dalit leader and seven time Congress MP from Kolar K H Muniyappa is also trying to field his daughter Roopa from Kolar Gold Fields (KGF). The Assembly Speaker K B Koliwad has decided to retire from politics paving the way for his son. The late CM N Dharam Singh’s son in law Chandra Singh is eyeing Congress ticket from Bidar South. He is upset over the induction of sitting independent MLA Ashok Kheny into Congress. Former Union minister the late B Shankarananda’s son in law Sindhe Bhimsen Rao is contesting from Aurad in Bidar district.
In the current Assembly there are two pairs of father – son MLAs. Both are from the Congress.
There is also an exception. Even though the party wants Planning minister M R Seetharam’s son Raksha Ram to contest from his father’s prestigious seat Malleshwaram, he has politely declined the offer saying that both father and son should not be in the same government.
The BJP CM face B S Yeddyurappa is planning to field his MLA son B Y Raghavendra from Ranebennur assembly seat in Haveri district. His another son B Y Vijayendra was initially interested in contesting from one of the seats in Bengaluru city. He seems to have backed off after a negative ground report.
In JDS, Gowda’s grandson Prajwal Revanna has been forcing the family to field him from RR Nagara in Bengaluru city against sitting Congress MLA Muniratna. The JDS state chief H D Kumaraswamy’s wife Anitha is also eyeing Channapatna seat in Bengaluru rural. But senior Gowda has poured cold water over their dreams by declaring that except his two sons, no other family members will get party ticket this time. However family aides are hopeful of convincing him closer to nomination date.