'Pride of place' for BJP, Cong in hall of shame

Last Updated : 28 March 2013, 18:23 IST
Last Updated : 28 March 2013, 18:23 IST

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With both the Congress and the BJP claiming that they would field only the ‘right and clean candidates,’ a good number of MLAs who were planning to switch sides have been left in the lurch.

The political fate of many seniors hangs in the balance as both the parties lack clarity on the policy to be adopted while selecting candidates. While the BJP says it is hell bent on ‘cleansing’ the party at least now (after the exit of its tainted leaders), the Congress is harping on not allowing ‘outsiders’ to walk away with the ‘B’ forms.

At the same time, the two parties are not ready to sacrifice those who can retain the seats, despite not meeting the selection norms.

For instance,  the Congress party has adopted double standards when it comes to  fielding C P Yogeeshwara, who quit the BJP to join the Congress recently. The Congress gave him the ‘B’ forms to be distributed among his followers in the recent urban local body elections.

Yogeeshwara is perceived by the Congress as a winning horse. But if the party goes by its own rules that no tainted person should be fielded, Yogeeshwara stands to lose as he is facing various cases pertaining to the Mega City scam. His petition seeking anticipatory bail was quashed by the High Court on March 1. But a section of the party’s State leaders are lobbying hard for him in New Delhi.

The Congress, again on the basis of winnability, is learnt to have decided to give tickets to all the four Independent MLAs - D Sudhakar, Venkataramanappa, P M Narendraswamy and Shivaraj Thangadagi. All were ministers in the Yeddyurappa cabinet. All of them, if sources are to be believed, enjoy the support of either G Parameshwara or Siddaramaiah.

Sudhakar, representing Hiriyur, faces a CBI case, in which he may be prosecuted. The argument put forth by leaders supporting him is that there is no alternative to Sudhakar in this constituency.

In the case of Venkataramanappa, representing Pavagad (reserved for SC), he is not seeking the ticket for himself, but for his son.

The Congress had given him ‘B’ forms to be distributed in the TMC polls. The party secured one seat less than the JD(S) in the polls.

B A Hasanabba, former MLC and member on the Congress’ campaign and manifesto committee, said that in the 2008 elections, nine of the party’s candidates lost deposit and the performance of 20 to 25 candidates was very poor.

“This was mainly because the seniors gave ticket to their followers, hoping that in the legislature party, they would have sufficient MLAs to support them. Such blunder should not happen now. Caste and other considerations should be set aside and only loyalty to party as well as winnability should be considered, while selecting candidates,” he said.

Referring to efforts made by C M Ibrahim, a close associate of Siddaramaiah, to get the ticket from Bhadravati at the cost of sitting Congress MLA B K Sangameshwar, Hasanabba said, “Ibrahim is of the view that he is a State leader. So, let him contest in the Lok Sabha election from Shimoga in 2014, as we do not have an able candidate there. Why should Sangameshwar be denied the ticket now? If Ibrahim is an important leader, then he can also contest against Zameer Ahmed of JD(S) in Chamarajpet.”

It is also to be seen whether the Congress would entertain those who indulged in cross-voting during the last MLC elections. B  C Patil and Malikayya Guttedar had openly challenged the Congress and had shown interest in joining the NCP.

Apprehending a backlash from its leaders, the Congress is dilly-dallying in giving ticket to BJP’s Anand Asnotikar, Raju Gouda and Belur Gopalakrishna, among others.

The BJP has a tougher task than the Congress in case it is serious about ‘cleansing’ the party. The saffron party will have to deny tickets to a good number of its MLAs, including Katta Subramanya Naidu, the former minister who went to jail following the Lokayukta cases, former minister Krishnaiah Setty, who was jailed in a Lokayukta case and also chargesheeted by the CBI.

The BJP will have to begin its ‘cleansing act’ from deputy chief minister K S Eshwarappa himself.

The Lokayukta police filed an FIR against him in a disproportionate assets case and conducted raids on his offices and residence on December 24 last year.

Ironically, he is on the election committee to select the candidates. The Lokayukta police have filed disproportionate assets cases against BJP MLAs S R Vishwanath, M S Somalingappa, M Srinivas and Abhay Patil, among others.

While the two major parties are still looking at the permutations and combinations, the JD(S) and KJP have opened their doors for migrants.

Published 28 March 2013, 18:23 IST

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