They wield considerable influence in pockets of Hyderabad Karnataka

The Congress here is caught in a dilemma on whether to open its doors to two influential leaders, Vaijnath Patil and Narasimha Nayak.

Both former Ministers, Mr. Patil and Mr. Nayak wield considerable influence in certain pockets of Hyderabad Karnataka.

The Congress paid a heavy price by not accommodating them in the list of candidates in the 2008 Assembly elections, allowing the BJP to make gains in the region.

In 2008, the leaders had sought Congress ticket from Gulbarga South and Surpur in Yadgir district respectively, but were denied this. They then shifted allegiance to BJP. While Mr. Nayak won from Surpur on a BJP ticket, Mr. Patil played a crucial role in the victory of BJP candidate Sunil Valyapur from Chincholi Assembly constituency, his home turf, and also helped the party win in Gulbarga South.

Five years later

Now, five years later, both leaders have quit the BJP. Mr. Patil has been sending out feelers to the Congress, demanding ticket from either Gulbarga South or Sedam.

A few days ago, he declared he would not join the Congress, but party sources told The Hindu that the Congress was keeping its option open. The screening committee would take a final call on giving him a ticket from Gulbarga South.

Opposition

Mr. Nayak’s entry to the Congress would be more complicated, with local leaders, especially Raja Venkatappa Naik, opposing his entry. Dr. Naik, who has lost twice to Mr. Nayak, has the backing of Union Labour Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge. Mr. Kharge too believes that the interests of old-timers should not be ignored while admitting new entrants.

Besides Surpur, Mr. Nayak can help the Congress make gains in Raichur district.

Likely names

The Congress has more or less finalised the candidature of Ajay Singh, son of the former Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh, from Jewargi Assembly constituency, Priyank Kharge, son of Mr. Kharge, from Chitapur, two-time MLA Sharanprakash Patil from Sedam, Qamarul Islam from Gulbarga North, Malikayya Guttedar from Afzalpur, G. Ramakrishna from Gulbarga Rural, either Siddanna Master Shegji or Shivaraj Bhasgi from Aland, and Umesh Jadav from Chincholi.

Kailash Patil is prominent among those who have sought party ticket from Gulbarga South. If Mr. Vaijnath Patil is given the ticket for Gulbarga South, Mr. Kailash Patil will be accommodated in the Upper House.


  • In 2008, they joined the BJP after they were denied Congress ticket

  • They have now quit the BJP


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