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Rivals and Congress Colleagues alike look with curiosity at former CM .’s search

Former chief minister of Karnataka, Siddaramaiah, arrived on Sunday in the town of Kolar, about 70 kilometers from the capital Bengaluru. It was a showdown and it looked like an election rally. Accompanied by local leaders and workers, he toured in an open-top bus and visited temples, mosques and churches.

He even stated that he would like to participate from the Kolar assembly seat in the elections to be held next April-May. He also informed party officials that MLA KM Srinivasa Gowda of the Janata Dal (secular), who has quarreled with the Gowda clan, has agreed to release the seat for him.

But his public statement has not sparked an endless debate over a search for Siddaramaiah’s next congressional seat. The main opposition congress, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, and the third party JD(S) are convinced he is up to something in the run-up to a political struggle of his career.

The next day in his hometown of Mysuru, Siddaramaiah made a statement that he is even ready to fight from his pocket city of Varuna which is currently owned by son Dr. Yatheendra Siddaramaiah. So he keeps all options open.

The opposition leader turned 75 last August and is making one last run to become the Prime Minister’s chairman should Congress win the 2023 parliamentary election.

Siddaramaiah, the most popular and most powerful congressional leader in Karnataka, was forced to fight as prime minister against both Chamundeshwari and Badami in the 2018 parliamentary elections. He suffered a shocking defeat in Chamundeshwari and won by a narrow margin in Badami. He had left Varuna for his son Dr. Yatheendra, which he won easily in 2018.

Siddaramaiah is under enormous pressure to fight from one of the seats in his native region of Mysuru. His closest associates try to convince him to fight against Varuna, which they believe is the safest place for him. However, Siddaramaiah is reluctant to disturb his doctor’s son and considers other options.

Since he is the most formidable leader, the BJP and JD(S) want to field strong candidates against him to make him sweat for the win. In a divided congress, Siddaramaiah fears his own party colleagues will betray him, leaving him defeated. That’s why he leaves everyone guessing and keeps his next move a secret.

Speaking to News18, he said: “I have invitations from over a dozen constituencies in Karnataka. I will only compete in one seat. Badami is too far from Bengaluru. I cannot visit the chair regularly. That’s why I decided to fight from a seat closer to Bengaluru. It helps me work for the voters.”

The BJP ridicules Siddaramaiah and describes his hunt for his constituency as an attempt by a desperate and rejected leader. Union minister Pralhad Joshi said it was unfortunate that a former prime minister was wandering looking for a safe place like this.

Siddaramaiah’s arch-rival in Karnataka politics, JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy, calls it a gimmick that will end in tragedy.

All India Congress Committee (AICC) president M Mallikarjun Kharge and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) chief DK Shivakumar are also curious about Siddaramaiah’s “safe seat search”.

According to insiders, he has his eyes set on about six seats – Varuna, Kolar, Hunsur, Kadur, Tarikere and Hiriyur. Finally, he can choose the safest seat to make sure his rivals don’t get a chance to sabotage his latest election.

Siddaramaiah, who first entered the Karnataka convention in 1983, has won eight times to date. He represented Chamundeshwari on the outskirts of the city of Mysuru until 2008. After the demarcation of the constituencies, he moved to neighboring Varuna in 2008 and won twice from there.

His closest associates believe that Varuna would be the safest place for Siddaramaiah under the current circumstances. Will he return to Varuna or choose another seat, time will tell.

Wherever he comes from, it will witness high-decibel campaigns and a charged election.

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