KJP fields Shobha from Rajajinagar
Yeddyurappa releases list of 69 candidates for Assembly polls
While Yeddyurappa has decided to test his electoral luck again from Shikaripura in Shimoga district, his close associate and former minister Shobha Karandlaje has shifted her constituency to Rajajinagar from Yeshwantpur in Bangalore.
Yeddyurappa, who released the list in Bangalore, is fielding his personal assistant K P Siddalingaswamy from the Varuna constituency in Mysore district, which is now represented by the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Siddaramaiah of the Congress.
Karandlaje, in all probability, will face Law Minister S Suresh Kumar of the BJP as her opponent in Rajajinagar. Karandlaje said she is not considering Kumar as a major opponent as he has been ‘isolated’ by BJP workers. All the workers who were with Kumar have now shifted to her camp, she claimed.
Asked why she has ditched Yeshwantpur, Karandlaje claimed that she was going by the aspirations of her followers who want her to represent Rajajinagar in the Assembly. However, it is said that Karandlaje has lost ground among the Yeshwantapur voters in the last five years.
The list of candidates includes 10 of the 12 MLAs who quit the BJP and joined the KJP in January. All of them will be contesting from the constituencies they represented in the present Assembly. They include C M Udasi (Hanagal), H Halappa (Sorab), Nehru Olekar (Haveri), Suresh Gowda Patil (Byadagi), G Shivanna (Ranebennur), S I Chikkanagoudar (Kundagol), Sunil Valyapure (Chincholi), B P Harish (Harihar), M Chandrappa (Holalkere). The names of Vittal Katakadonda (Nagatana) and D N Suresh (Tarikere), whose resignations were not accepted by the Speaker, also figure in the list.
In all, 14 candidates from the Scheduled Castes, eight from the Scheduled Tribes, three women, three Muslims and a Christian have been given party tickets. Former deputy mayor of Bangalore Shahataj Khanum will contest from the Chamarajpet constituency.
The KJP has not announced its nominess for several constituencies — Belgaum, Dharwad, Bagalkot, Bijapur and Davangere districts — apparently hoping that some prominent BJP legislators or ministers from these districts would join the KJP. “Wait for the next four-five days,” Yeddyurappa remarked when asked how many BJP legislators would be joining the KJP in the coming days.
Several legislators and ministers including Murgesh Nirani (Bagalkot district), Umesh Katti and Lakshman Savadi (Belgaum district), Basavaraj Bommai (Dharwad) who had publicly expressed their loyalty to Yeddyurappa, are yet to decide on joining the KJP.
The KJP’s first list of candidates also includes labour leaders Michael Fernandes, who will be contesting from Sarvagnanagar in Bangalore and S K Kantha (Gulbarga-South). Former deputy speaker B R Patil (Aland), former legislators Balaraj (Kollegal), U B Banakar (Hirekerur), J C Madhuswamy (Chikkanayakanahalli), K R Mallikarjunappa (Chamarajnagar), Venkatareddy Mudhnal, (Gurumitkal) and Ravikanth Patil (Indi) are also being fielded party.
‘Joshi, a scapegoat’
KJP president B S Yeddyurappa sarcastically remarked that the appointment of Dharwad MP Pralhad Joshi as state president of the BJP would benefit all opposition parties.
In an interaction with reporters after releasing the first list of KJP candidates, Yeddyurappa said Joshi’s appointment did not come as a surprise to him. The choice had to be between Bangalore South MP Ananth Kumar and Joshi. “Ananth Kumar, being the clever person he is, suggested Joshi’s name only to make him a scapegoat to head the sinking BJP ship,” he said.