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Karnataka bypolls: Congress, BJP struggle to field 'suitable candidates' in Shivajinagar

ANI | Updated: Oct 01, 2019 13:12 IST

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], Oct 1 (ANI): With the announcement of dates for by-polls to 15 Karnataka Assembly seats, Congress and the BJP seem to be struggling to find a suitable candidate for the Shivajinagar Vidhan Sabha seat.
Bypolls to the Muslim dominated constituency, which has close to 1.9 lakh voters was necessitated after the resignation of former Congress leader R Roshan Baig. People in the constituency were affected in the IMA multi-crore Ponzi scam.
The party is struggling with internal rivalry as party leaders Dinesh Gundu Rao and Siddaramaiah are in favour of fielding MLC Rizwan Arshad, from the constituency. Arshad had fought and lost the Lok Sabha election on a Congress ticket from Bangalore Central.
However, others are against him as they believe his links with the IMA Ponzi scam makes him an unsuitable candidate.
Senior Congress leader BK Hariprasad said, "The candidate can be from any religion or community but the only demand we have that is his name should not be linked with the IMA Ponzi scam in any way."
Other leaders in the party are vouching for Saleem Ahmad, who although fairly new to the constituency has a clean image.
Meanwhile, BJP too is likely to field Roshan Baig's son Ruman Baig or his kin as the candidate, whose name has been linked with the IMA Ponzi scam.
A senior BJP leader, on conditions of anonymity, too voiced concerns over Baig or his family members being given a ticket and added, "We are trying to satisfy Roshan Baig's ego by giving the ticket to that tainted family. But this will definitely damage the party in Shivajinagar constituency."
A fruit merchant from Shivajinagar, Idis Chaudhary, highlighting the dilemma the voters will face during the by-elections said, "We are very much worried about candidates but we do not have any choice. We will have to choose one among them. The point is whom should we choose more, the more tainted one or less tainted one?"
The Congress too is being urged by its senior leaders to field a non-Muslim name from Shivajinagar, who is not connected in any manner to the multi-crore ponzi scam that had rocked the city in the past month.
The name of BR Naidu, a former corporator election candidate is being presented as an alternative to Roshan Baig in the political circles.
Naidu, had once been a follower of Baig but distanced himself from him once the news of his alleged involvement in the IMA Ponzi scam broke.
The CBI is investigating allegations of IMA cheating 40,000 investors by promising high returns using Islamic ways of investment.
IMA founder Mohammed Mansoor Khan had fled the country but was later arrested on his arrival from Dubai in July this year. The SIT had later handed over the investigation to the CBI.
The CBI has already filed a charge sheet against Mansoor and 19 others in the alleged multi-crore ponzi scam case. The charge sheet was filed against Mansoor, seven of the company's directors, five members, one auditor and five companies related to IMA group for cheating, criminal conspiracy and breach of trust under relevant sections of the IPC in a court here on September 7.
The scam came to light in June this year after the prime accused, Mansoor, fled the country, leaving behind an audio message, in which he threatened to commit suicide due to alleged 'harassment' by some politicians and goons. (ANI)

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