Dharwad: The heat and dust having settled over the byelection contest to the Hangal and Sindgi assembly seats, senior members and functionaries of the Congress are now lobbying for the tickets to the District Local Authorities Constituency seats in the erstwhile undivided Dharwad district in the Karnataka legislative council.
The election to the two seats is slated to be held in January 2022. With Srinivas Mane of the Congress, who previously held the council’s seat for Haveri, now a member of the assembly in the wake of winning the byelection to the Hangal assembly seat, his party will be ever the more eager to retain the seat in the legislative council. Meanwhile, Pradeep Shettar of the BJP is the incumbent of the Undivided Dharwad District Local Authorities Constituency seat, and in the aftermath of electoral reverse in Hangal, the saffron party will want to prevent yet another debacle in the polls to the upper house of the state legislature.
Among those eligible to exercise their franchise in the scheduled election are elected members of the gram panchayats, taluk panchayats, town panchayats, urban local bodies, and the respective zilla panchayats.
The party’s stunning win in the Hangal bypoll – right in chief minister Basavaraj Bommai’s backyard in Haveri district – has buoyed rank and file of the Congress in the district, and reports indicate that more than a dozen aspirants are knocking on the doors of the party seniors, hoping to bag the ticket. Apparently, prominent leaders of the Muslim community are trying to persuade the Congress high command to declare a Muslim as its candidate.
Former minister and veteran Congress leader AM Hindasgeri, who had represented the constituency earlier, is among those eyeing the party ticket. Hindasgeri is a two-time MLA who won the election to the erstwhile Hubli City constituency in 1985, and has twice served as a cabinet minister. He has also been elected to the legislative council from the Local Authorities’ Constituency.
Meanwhile, Shakir Sanadi, son of former MP IG Sanadi, Ismail Tamatgar who unsuccessfully contested the Hubballi-Dharwad West assembly constituency and Hubballi-Dharwad City Congress Committee president Altaf Hallur are among the prominent Muslim leaders vying for the Congress ticket for the District Local Authorities’ Constituency seat. Former MLC and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee member Salim Ahmed, IU Pathan and Subani Chudigar from Haveri are the other contenders.
Eager to wrest the monopoly that the BJP has among the Lingayat community in North Karnataka, many members of this influential sect are lobbying hard for the Congress ticket, including Prakashgouda Patil from Hangal, SR Patil from Byadgi, Anand Gaddadevarmath, Sachin Patil and former MLA Shrishailappa Bidaruru.
On the other hand, influential voices from among the Dalit community have asked the Congress to demonstrate its commitment to the Scheduled Castes / Scheduled Tribes, by nominating at least two members – one from the Old Mysore region and one in the North Karnataka region – given that as many as 25 seats in the legislative council are going to the polls. KPCC member FH Jakkappannavar, an aspirant for one of the tickets himself, pointed to the representation that the Lingayat community had in Belagavi and Vijayapura districts, and called on the party top brass to nominate members from Dalit sects for the upcoming legislative council elections.
Although the Congress had set September 30 as the deadline for the submission of applications by prospective candidates for the council elections, the process was put on the backburner in view of the Sindgi and Hangal bypoll. However, there is demand that the party should invite applications afresh.


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