With the Congress high command set to finalise the first list of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections in the State in about a fortnight, the inclusion of Harsha Moily, son of Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas M. Veerappa Moily as a probable candidate for the Dakshina Kannada constituency has upset many Congressmen in the Dakshina Kannada unit of the party.

One Minister and two Congress legislators from the district expressed “shock” over the inclusion of Mr. Harsha Moily’s name. Sources told The Hindu that all the seven legislators, including three Ministers from the district, the District Congress Committee, Block Congress Committees, members of the zilla panchayat and Mangalore City Corporation councillors have extended support to the candidature of B. Janardhana Poojary, former Union Minister.

Congress leaders have alleged that Mr. Harsha Moily’s application was sent directly to the party high command without the KPCC’s nod. Supporters of Mr. Poojary, who unsuccessfully contested the 2009 elections, have pleaded with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and KPCC president G. Parameshwara to ensure ticket to him.

Minister for Health and Family Welfare U.T. Khader said: “It is very difficult to win the seat without the blessings of Mr. Poojary.” A delegation, led by the former Congress MLA from Surathkal, K. Vijayakumar Shetty, told the KPCC chief: “Mr. Poojary is a familiar name in our constituency. What is Mr. Harsha’s contribution to the party in the district? Who knows him?”

Mr. Poojary has been elected four times from the constituency (1977-1989). The Congress has faced defeat since 1991. Mr. Veerappa Moily contested twice (1999 and 2004) and lost on both occasions. In 2009, Mr. Moily migrated to Chickballapur constituency and won the election.

Speaking to The Hindu on Thursday, Mr. Poojary said “I am a strongman in the constituency. There are lakhs of voters belonging to my community (Billava) here. I am confident of obtaining party ticket and I am also confident of winning the next elections.”

Mr. Poojary’s supporters complained that Mr. Harsha Moily had never been active in the party nor had he served the party for the last five years, the minimum criterion stipulated to seek ticket.

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