Infighting may hit BJP in Karnataka RS polls

Infighting in the  BJP may impact the Rajya Sabha elections from Karnataka as former chief minister B S Yedyyurappa and national general secretary Ananth Kumar  are set to oppose each others’ candidates.

There is also demand within the party cadres that “a genuine Kannadiga” be given RS ticket and not a outsiders like actress Hema Malini or even Rajeev Chandrashekhar, who earlier won as an independent candidate with the BJP support.

The BJP, with the support of Ananth Kumar-Yeddyurappa combine, had sent senior party leader from AP, M Venkaih Naidu in 1998 and 2004 to the Upper House from Karnataka. This combination is now working in opposite directions.

According to sources, Hema Malini and Jagdish Shettar, a Kannadiga and BJP’s national executive member have met party president Nitin Gadkari and got “assurance for consideration.” Malini is learnt to have sought a ticket even from another states. Shettar is being backed by the RSS, sources said.

Yeddyurappa, who holds loyalty of a substantial number of MLAs in the Karnataka Assembly, could play a decisive role in the election of second or third RS candidate from the state. The BJP high command was said to be looking into a list of names that includes Sudheendra Kulkarni, who is a close aide of then prime minister A B Vajpayee.

The BJP, with its strength, can win two seats and is in a position to transfer surplus votes to a third candidate.

Lobbying for the Congress ticket from the state has started in right earnest, party sources maintained. The key question is will K Rahman Khan, deputy chairman of RS get nomination again. While former minister C K Jaffer Sharief is also said to be one of the aspirants, Congress sources said the party may also consider AICC general secretary B K Hariprasad for the lone seat which it is certain to win.

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