Ending suspense, the BJP gave tickets to all incumbent MPs, except Koppal’s Karadi Sanganna, in the first list of 21 candidates that was announced on Thursday.
It was speculated that some incumbents may be denied tickets, even as state president B S Yeddyurappa had asserted that all of them would be fielded again.
The party held back the declaration of candidates for seven remaining seats, including its bastion Bangalore South along with Koppal, Chikkodi, Kolar, Bangalore Rural, Raichur and Mandya.
The Bangalore South seat was represented for a record six times by the late Union minister H N Ananth Kumar, whose wife Tejaswini is the frontrunner for the ticket.
Non-declaration of her candidature came as a surprise to state leaders who maintained, however, that her name will be announced shortly.
Names of three turncoats who jumped ship from the Congress — Umesh Jadhav (Gulbarga), A Manju (Hassan) and Y Devendrappa (Bellary) — figure on the list. Jadhav will take on Congress veteran Mallikarjun Kharge and Manju will be up against JD(S) chief H D Deve Gowda’s grandson Prajwal Revanna. Devendrappa is related to Congress’ Belagavi strongman Ramesh Jarkiholi. With this, Jarkiholi has inched closer to the BJP.
The BJP has refrained from announcing a name from Mandya as the party is said to be undecided on whether to support Independent Sumalatha who is taking on Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil or to field a candidate.
The party also fielded Shobha Karandlaje (Udupi-Chikmagalur), Pratap Simha (Mysore) and firebrand Union Minister Anantkumar Hegde (Uttara Kannada) amid speculation that they faced opposition internally. The Congress-JD(S) alliance is likely to field former minister Anand Asnotikar against Hegde.
From Tumkur, the party renominated former MP G S Basavaraju, who lost to Congress in 2014. Former Union minister V Srinivas Prasad, who left the Congress in 2016, will contest from Chamarajanagar.