Venkaiah, Ayanur get RS berths

Venkaiah, Ayanur get RS berths

The central election committee of the BJP, which met in New Delhi on Friday evening,  approved the candidature of Naidu for the third time as well as that of Manjunath who is from Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa’s home district Shimoga.  Manjunath had once defected to the Congress but later returned to the BJP.

The party also selected former minister V Somanna, former MP C H Vijayashankar, long-time party associate Narayansa Bhandage and Ashwathanarayana, besides  state unit party treasurer Lehar Singh and former MLC N Thippanna as its candidates for the legislative council.

While Singh and Thippanna have been nominated to the council, the remaining four will be fielded for the council poll.  In a significant development in Delhi, JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy agreed to support the Congress in the RS poll from the State while the Congress agreed to back the regional party’s candidate for the council seat.

The agreement was sealed when the former chief minister met AICC general secretary in charge of Karnataka Ghulam Nabi Azad on Friday morning.  Thippanna will retire on May 20, 2012, and the tenure of Singh will last till February 3, 2016. Somanna and Thippanna had quit the Congress and the JD(S) respectively to join the BJP. Manjunath had defeated former chief minister S Bangarappa in the 1996 Lok Sabha elections but became close to Yeddyurappa after rejoining the BJP.

Somanna’s candidature to the Council comes after two successive political debacles. He was trounced in the by-election from the Govindarajnagar assembly constituency by young turk Priya Krishna of the Congress last year. Earlier this year, when the state government had tried to nominate him to the Upper House, Governor H R Bharadwaj rejected Somanna’s nomination stating that “defectors” had no place in legislature. Lehar Singh is a long-time close associate of the chief minister.

Thippanna, a former JD(S) state unit president, is being rewarded for quitting his council seat at a time when the JD(S) was all set to emerge as the principal opposition party in the Upper House. Thippanna’s exit resulted in JD(S) losing out to the Congress , the post of the leader of the opposition.

Bhandage and Ashwaranarayana are from Bagalkote and Bangalore respectively and are long time-party workers.  The Council and Rajya Sabha elections, if necessary,  will be held on June 10 and June 17 respectively. The BJP also approved the candidature of senior leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi from Uttar Pradesh and its spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy from Bihar.

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