‘Talks on’: BSY on his son’s candidature from Varuna
Former Karnataka chief minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader BS Yediyurappa said on Thursday that there were party-level discussions to field his second son, party’s state vice-president BY Vijayendra, from the Varuna constituency in the upcoming Karnataka assembly elections in May, pitting him against the leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah.
On Thursday, when asked whether the BJP will field his son Vijayendra from the Varuna constituency in the Mysuru district, Yediyurappa did not deny the possibility and said, “Talks are going on. It depends on the central leadership’s decision. But we will choose a strong candidate and give (Congress) a tough fight. Let’s see what happens.”
Putting an end to speculations, the Congress party on Saturday announced that former chief minister Siddaramaiah would contest the upcoming Assembly elections from the Varuna constituency in Mysuru. Siddaramaiah, who currently represents Badami in the Bagalkote district, had announced that he would be contesting from Kolar but backtracked after party leadership reportedly cautioned him regarding the risks of fighting from Kolar that might lose from the constituency.
Hours after the party announced the constituency, Siddaramaiah said he wants to contest from two seats in the upcoming Karnataka Assembly polls. He said he wants to contest from Kolar, too, along with Varuna if the party agrees.
Commenting about Yediyurappa’s statement, Siddaramaiah told reporters at the Congress office that he was not bothered about the candidate contesting against him. Congress state president D K Shivakumar, who was also present at the office, quipped that his party “would welcome it if Yediyurappa himself decided to contest from Varuna”.
According to estimates, Varuna has 55,000 Lingayats, 12,000 Vokkaligas, 35,000 Kurubas, 43,000 Scheduled Castes, 23,000 Scheduled Tribes and 12,000 OBCs. While the Kurubas, SC, ST and OBCs are traditional Congress vote banks, the BJP enjoys the backing of the Lingayats and the JD(S) has the support of the Vokkaligas.
However, it remains unclear whether Vijayendra will contest from Varuna and Shikaripura, the constituency vacated by Yediyurappa.
As early as July 22 last year, while signalling his retirement from electoral politics, Yediyurappa declared that his youngest son Vijayendra would replace him as the candidate in his Shikaripura constituency in the 2023 state assembly polls. On February 24, after announcing his retirement from politics, Yediyurappa reiterated this decision.
Meanwhile, Yediyurappa asserted that the BJP would win the upcoming crucial assembly polls with a clear majority. “We’re going to get absolute majority in Karnataka. Under PM Modi’s leadership, we will come back to power. Congress is corrupt and that’s why they’re making false allegations of 40% commission, these things will be kept away by voters,” he said.
“I’ve taken a decision not to contest the Assembly election and also resigned from the CM post as I’ve already crossed 80 years of age. Even if I’ve crossed 80 years, I’ll go around in state not only this time but next time as well. We’ll see, we’ll get the majority not only this time but also next time,” he added.