Karnataka elections: Parties set to release candidates’ list by April 10

Published: April 5, 2018 - 16:27

Electioneering in Karnataka is entering a crucial phase around the next five days as both the Congress and the BJP are set to release their respective list of candidates by April 10. According to BJP sources, the party’s central committee that comprises Prime Minister Narendra Modi, among other top leaders, may give its nod to the first list of candidates for the May 12 elections on April 10 while the Congress state unit screening committee will make its recommendations to the party high command latest by April 9-10.

For the BJP, the next few days would be critical in more ways than one as party chief Amit Shah is likely to pay a visit to crucial hubs like Hyderabad-Karnataka region of Bellary, Gadag and Raichur. This region is politically sensitive due to the supposed influence of mining baron G Janardhana Reddy, who is also a scam-tainted business tycoon.

Party chief Amit Shah had earlier tried to downplay Reddy’s influence, saying that the BJP has no relationship with him; but local BJP insiders suggested that the ‘importance’ of Janardhana Reddy factor cannot be ignored completely as the saffron party needs Reddy’s close aide B Sriramulu.

An influential leader in his own right as the face of Scheduled Tribe Nayaka community, the BJP poll strategists know that Sriramulu’s rebellion against the BJP in 2013 had cost the party dearly as a newly floated BSR-Congress had polled 2.7 per cent of the votes, eating chiefly into the BJP’s vote share.


For the BJP, the next few days would be critical in more ways than one as party chief Amit Shah is likely to pay a visit to crucial hubs like Hyderabad-Karnataka region of Bellary, Gadag and Raichur. This region is politically sensitive due to the supposed influence of mining baron G Janardhana Reddy, who is also a scam-tainted business tycoon.

“Things may get clearer after Amit Shah’s visit into the region. We are hopeful of winning the BJP support base in these areas as the people here had voted overwhelmingly in 2008 and also later in 2014 Assembly polls,” a key BJP leader said.

In the BJP’s first list of candidates, the decision would be chiefly about the sitting MLAs and if they should be fielded again. However, in few pockets, rebellion has started surfacing, forcing state unit chief BS Yeddyurappa to meet some disgruntled leaders and placate them. Lately, he has met former Minister H Halappa, who has sounded his displeasure over the party’s keenness to field Kumar Bangarappa, son of a former Chief Minister, from Sorab Assembly in Shivamogga district. Halappa had represented this seat between 2008 and 2013 but lost five years back to JD(S) nominee and Kumar Bangarappa’s brother, S Madhu Bangarappa.

Another prominent BJP leader, V Somanna who is a Lingayat leader, is also peeved as his plea for Hanur constituency in Chamarajanagar district might be rejected. This could actually foment further internal squabble in the saffron outfit as Somanna, the former Housing Minister under Yeddyurappa, is said to have switched his loyalty to the Ananth Kumar camp. Apparently, Yeddyurappa wanted Somanna to join his Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP) in 2012 but Somanna had decided to stay back in the BJP. However, now for the prestigious Hanur Assembly segment, Yeddyurappa seems to be in favour of fielding senior leader Parimala Nagappa’s son Preetam Nagappa. In the electoral sense, the Hyderabad-Karnataka region is dominated by the Lingayats, thus giving the BJP an advantage. However, any mistake can upset the entire apple-cart of caste idioms.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge is a prominent Opposition face in the region but does not hold a political grip to influence the voting pattern as such. However, Junior Kharge — Priyank — who won the Chittapur (Scheduled Caste reserved) constituency in 2013 is an influential face in the region. However, in the 2009 by-polls, BJP’s Valmiki Nayak had wrested the seat away from Priyank. In the 2008 Assembly polls, Mallikarjun Kharge had won the seat braving a strong pro-Yeddyurappa wave in the region.

UNI

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