Their image has suffered because of their ‘inability’ to get party ticket for their sons easily

Congress leaders and workers seem to have been taken aback by the delay in announcing the candidates for the Jewargi and Chittapur Assembly segments. It has also raised questions on the influence of M. Mallikarjun Kharge, Union Labour and Employment Minister, and N. Dharam Singh, MP and former Chief Minister, as both their sons are ticket aspirants.

Priyank Kharge is eyeing the ticket from Chittapur. He lost the byelection to the seat in 2009. Mr. Singh’s youngest son, Ajay Singh, is keen to contest from Jewargi.

While both senior leaders wield considerable influence in the party, their image has suffered a serious dent because of their “inability” to get the party ticket for their sons easily.

Loss

Both Mr. Priyank and Dr. Ajay Singh contested in the 2009 byelection under tough circumstances, and lost badly.

Mr. Priyank failed to retain the Chittapur seat which was won by his father in the 2008 elections by a margin of over 17,400 votes.

He lost to Valmiki Naik of the Bharatiya Janata Party by a margin of 1,600 votes.

However, Mr. Kharge’s son has done much for the Chittapur Assembly segment since his loss, which is evident from the Congress’ success in the urban local body polls.

In Dr. Ajay Singh’s case, he was forced to contest the byelection from Gulbarga South by the party high command, which wanted a strong candidate to pose a challenge to the BJP’s influence in the constituency.

Sources in the party said the former Chief Minister was asked to field his son.

Supporters of the senior leaders seem confident that both cases would be looked into after AICC president Sonia Gandhi’s return from her foreign tour.

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