Team Mangalorean - New Delhi
from Ravi Kanvatirtha
New Delhi: Former IG and DGP of Karnataka, Shankar Mahadev Bidari, was already known to get set to join Congress. Now what is left is only a formality.
He had been invited to New Dehli by the party leaders to hold talks over his joining. He met senior leader Oscar Fernandes in the latter's office on Friday, Mar 15 for about half-an-hour's duration. Fernandes said, 'We welcome you to Congress.'
Although Bidari was keen on meeting AICC president Sonia Gandhi, it was not possible. Bidari is likely to extend his stay in the national capital to meet her on Saturday or Sunday.
Both Fernandes and Bidari denied having spoken about the latter's contesting from any constituency in Karnataka in the assembly polls due soon and that there was no mention of a party ticket during their talks. Bidari said he was keen on serving the public through various channels, not ruling out the political route.
That apart, he is sure to contest and the party has already decided to give him a ticket. Speaking to our correspondent, Bidari said that he had been invited to join Congress by state president Dr G Parameshwar in last November. However, since he was engrossed in a case in the supreme court relating his post as DGP, he could not pay attention to the proposal.
Sources close to Bidari told our correspondent that people from about fifteen constituencies had invited him to contest from their territories. In private, he has said that he was confident of winning on the strength of his brand 'Shankar Bidari'. He should have enough reason for his confidence, since he belongs to the powerful Lingayat community, which has a large concentration in northern Karnataka. He has reportedly set his eyes on Terdal in Bagalkot district, which is currently held by Siddu K Savadi of the BJP.
However, the Lingayat votes are likely to be torn among three powerful parties - the BJP led by Jagadish Shettar, KJP led by Yeddyurappa, both Lingayats, and Congress, which does not lack in influential leaders from the community. But Bidari should have no problem in romping home, whichever party he contests from, or even as an independent.
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