Sources have told TNM that while Haris may get the seat because he has maximum chances of winning, there is strong support for Rizwan Arshad too.

Cong avoids NA Haris controversy in first list Shantinagar candidate not announced
Karnataka Elections Karnataka 2018 Sunday, April 15, 2018 - 21:23

Will they or won’t they give a seat to NA Haris – the MLA from Bengaluru’s Shantinagar who has been in the eye of a storm due to his son’s antics? On Sunday, the Congress decided to keep the suspense on for a bit longer, as they announced the first list of candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections in Karnataka.

And as sources have been telling us for sometime now, they avoided any controversy over Haris, by simply not announcing a candidate for Shantinagar just yet.

The first list announced by the party has 218 names from across Karnataka, including Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s candidature from Chamundeshwari and his son Dr Yathindra’s candidature from Varuna constituencies.

However, Shantinagar constituency – whose incumbent MLA is NA Haris – was not announced.

There is strong speculation that many leaders in the Congress are pushing for the candidacy of Rizwan Arshad, the Karnataka Pradesh Youth Congress President. Rizwan had contested from the Bengaluru Central constituency in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, but had lost due to factional fights. He was later elected to the Karnataka Legislative Council.

Haris’s son, Mohammed Haris Nalapad, was arrested a few weeks ago for brutally assaulted a man at a cafe in Bengaluru. The brutality of the attack shocked Karnataka, and questions were raised on whether fielding Haris after the controversy will affect Congress’s chances in the state.

But latest internal surveys in the party, according to sources, have shown that Haris will win if fielded from Shantinagar, and therefore the party will most likely go with the incumbent this time around as well.

“Over the past few years, no other leader has been in touch with the constituents like Haris. It may be so that his son was mired in controversies but he also has the people’s support. His initiative to give school kits has got him the support of his constituents. He cannot be denied a ticket for his son’s wrongdoing,” a Congress source had earlier told TNM.

At the same time, the party is keen to avoid any controversy ahead of the elections, and will therefore push the announcement to a later date, sources said.

Currently, Shantinagar has three other ticket aspirants – MLC Rizwan Arshad, former Congress MLC RV Venkatesh and the President of the Congress’ Bengaluru Unit, Lakshmi Venkatesh.

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