The Congress on Thursday named Union Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily as Chikkaballapur Lok Sabha candidate, reposing faith in him despite adverse reports over his prospects in the seat he won in 2009.
Moily was among candidates for Karnataka the party announced on Thursday.
Moily will face Vokkaliga leader B N Bachegowda of the BJP. The JD(S) is likely to decide between wife of H D Kumaraswamy and an industrialist for the seat. Chikaballapur is dominated by Vokkaliga community and Moily would depend on a split in Vokkaliga votes in light of unhappiness in the constituency over his failure to implement an irrigation and drinking water project.
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The party did not pick eight-time MP and former railway minister Jaffer Sharief, 80 for minority dominated Bangalore Central seat. His name was doing the rounds last week. He has threatening to join JD(S) of former prime minister H D Deve Gowda. In 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections Sharief lost on account of a division in minority votes between Congress and JD(S) enabling BJP candidate to win.
The Congress has fielded former Youth Congress president Rizwan Arshad, an associate of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi from Bangalore Central. Arshad had been denied a ticket for the May 2013 Assembly elections. Sitting MP P C Mohan is the BJP candidate in Bangalore Central and and Aam Aadmi Party is fielding former Infosys CFO V Balakrishnan.
Sharief claimed he will contest on a JD(S) ticket. “The Congress has taken its decision now I will take my decision,’’ he said.
The Congress is expected to convince Sharief against leaving the party by stressing his grandson Rehman Sharief was chosen over senior leaders in the 2013 Assembly polls in Hebbal. He had lost.
The Congress has fielded a relatively lightweight candidate, Manjunath Bhandary, against former BJP chief minister B S Yeddyurappa in Shimoga. Geetha Shivarajkumar, daughter of former chief minister S Bangarappa, daughter-in-law of Kannada film legend Dr Rajkumar and wife of film star Shivrajkumar is the JD(S) candidate.
Bhandary is a businessman and former general secretary of the party.
Prakash Hukkeri, a minister in Siddaramaiah cabinet will contest Chikkodi seat. The sugar minister is the only one from the state cabinet to enter the poll fray though the Congress had looked at at least three ministers to contest.