JD(S) struggles to find suitable candidates in Bengaluru

Measures to woo voters, like launching social media platforms, not yielding desired results

The H D Kumaraswamy-led JD-S' efforts to establish a strong base in Bengaluru Urban district which has 28 assembly constituencies, ahead of the election, appears to be not yielding much results.

Kumaraswamy, who held back-to-back meetings for three days recently with those aspiring to contest the election at the party office here, was left disappointed as he could not find strong candidates who can take on the BJP and the Congress. For some constituencies, there were hardly any aspirants for the JD(S) tickets. In case of others, the aspirants were found to be political greenhorns.

Sources in the JD(S) said the party had received only 70 to 80 applications from the ticket aspirants for the 28 constituencies. Of this, the party has been able to shortlist candidates for about 15 constituencies, including Rajarajeshwarinagar, Hebbal, Byatarayanapura, Basavanagudi, Chamarajpet and Yeshwantpur. A majority of these candidates will be contesting the Assembly election for the first time.

Ironically, the JD(S) had high hopes on Bengaluru Urban, which has the maximum number of Assembly seats. It had planned to win eight to 10 seats against three it had won in 2013 Chamarajpet, Pulakeshinagar and Mahalakshmi Layout. Winning maximum number of seats in Bengaluru is important for any party aiming to come to power.

In fact, the JD(S) had been making earnest efforts to do away with its image as an agrarian party. It had been using social media platforms to woo the youth, especially techies. Kumaraswamy had organised a conference of his social media followers in Bengaluru last year. Besides, the party had, for the first time, formed booth-level committees, appointed presidents to the party units in each of the 28 constituencies and established the women's wing.

The sources said Chamarajpet MLA B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan and Pulakeshinagar MLA Akhanda Srinivas Murthy jumping ship to the Congress had dealt a big blow to the party. With them, a majority of the JD(S) workers in these constituencies too have hopped over to the ruling party. This apart, the JD(S) has been away from power for close to 10 years. So, it has been struggling to retain its support base, the sources said.

JD(S) Rajya Sabha member Kupendra Reddy, who has been overseeing ticket distribution in Bengaluru, dismissed the suggestions that there were few takers for tickets in the district. "We have aspirants in all constituencies. The only reason that we haven't been able to finalise candidates in some of the constituencies is because there is stiff competition among the aspirants. This issue will be sorted soon, and we will announce names for all 28 constituencies," he added.

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