Karnataka elections may see sons of Siddaramaiah and Yeddyurappa making poll de…

With the state set to go to polls on May 12, the tussle for tickets has reached fever pitch and children of political leaders have not shied away from staking their claim for a berth.

Foremost among such ticket-seekers is chief minister Siddaramaiah’s son Yathindra, who is set to contest from Varuna constituency, a bastion of his father who has shifted to neighbouring Chamundeshwari to accommodate the son.

Similarly, speculation is rife that the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may field BY Vijayendra, the younger son of the party’s chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa, against Yathindra in Varuna. The constituency has a significant population of Lingayats, a community to which Vijayendra belongs. However, the Congress and the BJP have not released their candidates list yet.

Moreover, BJP general secretary in charge of the state, Muralidhar Rao, on Thursday seemingly put paid to Vijayendra’s ambitions, when he said the party was against dynastic politics. “Dynasty and democracy cannot co-exist. BJP is against dynastic politics and in the eco-system which we have created in the party, dynasty cannot survive. This is the broad, old principle of the BJP,” he said, while addressing a press conference.

When asked about Vijayendra campaigning in Varuna, Rao said: “We have never stopped him from campaigning.” Rao highlighted the party’s stance that it was the Congress that indulged in dynastic politics.

The Congress, however, said Yathindra’s candidature was certain. State working president Dinesh Gundu Rao said there were no other claimants for Varuna. “There is only one application, that of Yathindra, in Varuna,” he said, adding that a final decision would be taken by the central leadership.

Vijayendra said it was not his decision to contest from Varuna. “Party workers in that constituency demanded that I contest there and hence to respect their wishes I visited the constituency,” he said, adding that he had not yet filed an application with the party to contest from the seat.

Vijayendra’s brother Raghavendra is the current MLA from Shikaripur, where Yeddyurappa had won seven consecutive elections, before successfully constesting the Lok Sabha polls in 2014.

When asked about Muralidhar Rao’s statement, Vijayendra said he was only bowing to the wishes of the party cadre. “It is for the central leadership to decide on candidates. But the local party workers have taken it upon themselves to ensure a humiliating defeat to the Congress in a seat that was represented by the chief minister,” he said. Repeated attempts to reach Yathindra went unanswered.

Others in the fray

There are other political heirs in the fray, too, like Sowmya Reddy, daughter of home minister Ramalinga Reddy, who is an aspirant from the Jayanagar constituency in Bengaluru. Ramalinga Reddy had represented the constituency from 1989 to 2008, when he switched to the neighbouring BTM Layout constituency.

“In Jayanagar, there are three-four aspirants, so a decision will be taken based on the candidates’ ability to win,” Gundu Rao said.

Meanwhile, Darshan Puttanaiah is set to contest from the constituency of his late father and stalwart farmer leader KS Puttanaiah, who passed away in February. Puttanaiah will contest from Melukote in Mandya district on the Swaraj India ticket.

Puttanaiah said he had not nursed any political ambitions, and had been thrust into the role because of the sudden death of his father. “While I have gone along for my father’s campaigns in the past, I had never considered electoral politics,” he said. “I was more interested in the work of the farmers’ union.”