Amid revolt by several Congress leaders over ticket distribution for the May 12 assembly polls in Karnataka, the party found itself in a quandary when it was revealed that one candidate had a Mehul Choksi connection. Reports emerged on Monday that Congress’ Madikeri candidate HS Chandramouli, a former state public prosecutor, is a lawyer of Mehul Choksi, uncle of PNB scam accused Nirav Modi, who is himself wanted in the case.After reports and subsequent backlash, the party has now put Chandramouli’s nomination on hold. Choksi is wanted in Rs 13,000-crore PNB scam. Chandramouli was awarded the ticket over Brijesh Kalappa, a Congress spokesperson regular in TV debates. Kalappa said after being denied ticket in Lok Sabha polls in 2009, 2014 and Rajya Sabha ticket in 2014, 2016 and 2018, he would now seek ticket for gram panchayat poll. “I will swallow the ignominy of being ousted from the race by a Person who joined the Party in 2016, got a Legislative Council Ticket the same year, lost and the same person now bags the Assembly ticket for Madikeri,” he wrote on Facebook. “This begs the question- if one person were given so many opportunities by the Congress Party, why did we let a brilliant person like Jayaprakash Hegde go merely because he wanted the MLC ticket after he lost Lok Sabha elections?” he asked. Someone in my party is clearly telling me to seek nomination for a constituency befitting my status, Kalappa said. “I will try for Gram Panchayat next time,” he added. Hitting out at the Congress over its choice, BJP’s IT cell head Amit Malviya asked, “What is so special about H S Chandramouli, lawyer of Nirav Modi’s uncle Mehul Choksi, that Congress gave him a ticket from Madikere while denying one to Brijesh Kalappa, Siddaramaiah’s legal advisor and party spokesperson? Rahul’s friends over CM’s aide?”Shehzad Poonawala, former Congress leader who revolted against Rahul Gandhi’s nomination as Congress president, indicated that Kalappa would join the BJP if denied ticket. “After exposing Rahul Gandhi’s largesse towards Mehul Choksi’s lawyer his ticket has been put on hold.. my inside sources tell me Brajesh Kallapa’s ticket was sabotaged by a Rahul aide handling media-Brajesh could join BJP if ticket denied.. Hope INC doesn’t insult him again,” he said. The Congress on Sunday came out with a list of 218 names in one go while holding back clearance for six other segments.Supporters of ticket seekers who failed to make it to the list staged protests across Karnataka on Monday with the stir turning violent at several places. They vandalised Congress offices, blocked national highway and staged demonstration outside the office of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee in Bengaluru.

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Karnataka Polls: Mehul Choksi’s lawyer among 218 candidates announced by Congress, ticket put on hold after backlash