Select Page

BENGALURU:Congress’ decision to field sons and daughters of ministers in Siddaramaiah’s cabinet and relatives of senior party functionaries has drawn criticism within party ranks for promoting ‘parivarvaad’. But the party brass insists it’s a strategic move to leverage familial bonds in the electoral arena and capitalise on dedication and support of ministers and senior functionaries.

Of the 24 candidates named so far, 11 are related to party functionaries including five who are children of ministers in Siddaramaiah’s cabinet. More kin are likely as the party is mulling fielding Raksha Ramaiah, son of former minister MR Seetharam, from Chikkaballapur; Sunil Bose, son of HC Mahadevappa, from Chamarajanagar; and Peddanna, son-in-law of KH Muniyappa from Kolar.

Some Congressmen say it is a well-thought-out strategy and it will force ministers and functionaries to work for victory of their relatives. Some see this as reflection of the party’s desperation to win a majority of the 28 seats at stake in the state. The party high command has reposed huge hopes in the state and believes the highest contribution should come from here if it is to improve its overall national tally.

“Since the party has a strong organisational base in Karnataka and the state govt has successfully implemented the guarantee schemes, the high command has a lot of expectations from Karnataka. This is one reason for fielding kin of ministers, ignoring the criticism it generates,” said a Congress MLA.

The party had initially planned to field seven ministers — Satish Jarkiholi, HK Patil, B Nagendra, HC Mahadevappa, Ramalinga Reddy, Eshwar Khandre, and Muniyappa — who wield much in- fluence among voters in their constituencies. This influence along with the guarantee scheme was seen as a recipe for success.

Another reason for the party’s plan to field ministers, especially Jarkiholi, Nagendra (both are STs), Muniyappa, and Mahadevappa (SCs), was to get the support of these communities. “The party expects these communities to extend the same kind of support as they did during the 2023 assembly elections,” said an MLA.

But these ministers were unwilling to sacrifice their ministerial berths and refused to contest, despite a diktat from former AICC president Rahul Gandhi himself.

Confident of persuading ministers to contest, the brass did not identify strong enough alternatives. When efforts failed to convince them, the party had little choice other than to pick their kin.

“Since most of these candidates are facing their first elections and their political future will be in question if they lose, all these ministers and senior functionaries will work with the utmost dedication,” said a senior Congress functionary.

However, KPCC working president Saleem Ahmed claimed candidates were selected based on ‘winnability’ and opinions of people in their constituencies. “Tickets were not given because they are sons or daughters of a minister. A lot of thinking has gone into the selection of these candidates,” he said.

  • Published On Mar 23, 2024 at 12:40 PM IST

Join the community of 2M+ industry professionals

Subscribe to our newsletter to get latest insights & analysis.

Download ETBFSI App

  • Get Realtime updates
  • Save your favourite articles

icon g play

icon app store

Scan to download App
bfsi barcode

Share it on social networks