The Indian National Congress formally announced sitting MLA NA Haris as their candidate for Shantinagar constituency on Sunday. as earlier speculated. The revised list also confirms CM SIddaramaiah as the candidate from Badami, instead of Devaraj Patil.
In two other significant changes, HS Chandramouli will miss the ticket from Madikeri, while MLA B Inamdar will contest from Kittur.
The inclusion of HS Chandramouli was attacked by the BJP as he had represented PNB scam co-accused Mehul Choksi. Even party spokesperson and CM Siddaramaiahâ€™s legal advisor Brijesh Kalappa had criticised the decision, after missing out on the same ticket. Instead of Chandramouli, the Congress has decided to go with KP Chandralekha from Madikeri.
Inamdar meanwhile had threatened to quit the party if he was not given a ticket. Like Shantinagar, Kittur in Belagaum was omitted in the first list of 219 seats. It was speculated Inamdar was given the snub due to his old age.
The remaining seats have been allocated to Sayed Yasin (Raichur), Mallana Niganna Sali (Sindgi) and Vithal Dhondiba Katakdhond (Nagthan).
Three more changes were announced in the list, too: M Srinivas has replaced B Gurappa Naidu in Padmanabha Nagar; Kengal Shreepada Renu will contest in Malleshwaram instead of sitting minister Setharam; and HP Rajesh will replace AL Pushpa.
Haris, the sitting MLA from Shantinagar, did not feature in the initial list of 219 names that the party announced on April 15. The MLA faced massive criticism from the public and the opposition parties after his son, Mohammed Nalapad Haris, was accused of brutally assaulting a man, Vidvat Loganathan, in an upscale eatery in Bengaluru in February. There was pressure on Congress to drop Haris in the face of his sonâ€™s behaviour.
However, going by internal surveys, the party chose to stick with Haris despite the controversy. A decision was made to field him well before the election dates were announced, sources confirmed. But his name was not announced in the initial draft.
â€śInternal surveys commissioned after the assault still showed favourable results for Haris. He is popular and his constituents like him,â€ť a source had told TNM on Friday.
â€śOver 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 peopleâ€™s support. His initiative to give school kits has got him the support of his constituents. He cannot be denied a ticket for his sonâ€™s wrongdoing,â€ť another Congress insider had earlier told TNM.
Other than Haris, there was 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.