The Mehul Choksi bug appears to have caught the Congress. The party which released its final list dropped its Madikeri candidate, H S Chandramouli who had represented fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi as his lawyer.
The party also confirmed a ticket to sitting MLA N A Harris, who was embroiled in a controversy after his son was involved in a brawl at an upscale city pub-cum-restaurant recently, causing a major embarrassment to the ruling Congress ahead of the polls, with the opposition using the incident as a stick to beat it with.
His son Mohammad Nalapad is now in judicial custody in connection with the alleged brutal assault on a man, who was badly injured.
The Congress that had announced a list of 218 candidates in one go for the 224 member Karnataka legislative assembly on April 15, had kept the names of candidates for six seats on hold.
They included Sindgi, Nagathan, Kittur, Raichur, Shantinagar and Melukote constituencies.
From Kittur, the party has fielded senior leader D B Inamdar, Vithal Dhonidiba Katakdhond from Nagthan, Mallanna Niganna Sali from Sindgi, Sayed Yasin from Raichur and N A Harris from Shantinagar.
According to party sources, the Congress is expected to support farmers' leader the late Puttannaiah's son Darshan Puttannaiah (Swaraj India) in Melukote constituency.
Among constituencies for which candidates were replaced include Badami, the second constituency from where Siddaramaiah will be contesting.
Earlier, the party had named Dr Devraj Patil as its nominee in Badami, from where Siddaramaiah will be filing his nomination on April 24
Siddaramaiah, who has already filed his nominations from Chamundeshwari constituency in Mysuru, has been saying he was under pressure from local party leaders in Bagalkote and Vijayapura districts to contest from Badami, as it would boost the party's prospects in the region.
Badami, with a strong presence of Kurubas, the community to which Siddaramaiah belongs, is seen as a safer option for the Chief Minister as reports have suggested that the battle in Chamundeshwari will not be an easy one for him.
The other prominent replacement is from Madikeri, where Chandramauli, the lawyer who represented Choksi, has been replaced by K P Chandrakala.
Chandramauli's candidature had led to Congress coming under intense criticism from the BJP.
|Karnataka Assembly Election dates|
|Date of notification||April 17|
|Last date to file nominations||April 24|
|Last date to withdraw nominations||April 27|
|Date of polling||May 12|
|Date of counting||May 15|