Bengaluru: Banking on favourable votes from Kuruba community, AHINDAs, Dalits, backward classes and other minorities, Congress leaders from Koppal district have been trying to convince former chief minister Siddaramaiah to contest for a Lok Sabha seat. The Congress leader, however, had earlier stated that he wants to remain focused on state politics.

Leading the unit of Congressman who are pitching for Siddaramaiah's entry into central politics via Koppal, former Minister Shivaraj Tangadagi said, "There is no doubt that Siddaramaiah will win, but he had expressed earlier that he will not contest. We will continue with our efforts to persuade him and also ask senior leaders to convince Siddaramaiah." said Shivaraj Tangadagi.

The Koppal Lok Sabha segment comprises eight MLA seats. The BJP obtained four seats, the Congress secured 3 and the JD(S) bagged one seat in the Assembly elections held in May last year. The BJP currently has upper hand.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Karadi Sanganna Amarappa of the BJP won by a thin margin of 32,414 votes. He secured 4,86,383 and his rival Basavaraj Hitnal secured 4,53,969 votes.

"I am a front runner this time too to compete against the BJP. At the same time, in the case that Siddaramaiah agrees to contest, I will happily welcome his decision. The winning margin will be doubled in case Siddaramaiah is fielded from Koppal. The Kuruba community holds the key to a win in Koppal, and if Siddaramaiah contests, he will easily win," said Basavaraj Hitnal.

The JD(S) party and its coalition partner refused to comment on the issue saying it is the discretion of the Congress. However, they expressed that the ties will be intact and will support the Congress candidate. "The BJP has become synonymous with lies and deceit. They tried to use war and army as a weapon to win votes and are being criticised and hence the Congress and JD(S) will win 22 seats," said TA Sharavana JD(S) MLC.

However, the BJP said that it will easily crush Siddaramaiah. While sitting MP Karadi Sanganna refused to buy the claims of Siddaramaiah contesting and the Congress winning in Koppal, he said that the BJP is strong. "Siddaramaiah has already made it clear he will not contest so I will not subscribe to this analysis of former CM contesting as an MP," said Sanganna.

The BJP spokesperson S Prakash said that the Congress leaders want to make Siddaramaiah a sacrificial lamb and hence are keen on pushing his name as MP. "He will be defeated in the face of the Modi wave that has taken the nation by storm, and in case Siddaramaiah wins, he will move to Delhi. Congress leaders want this to happen as Siddaramaiah will lose his place as state Congress leader," said Prakash.