The BJP ended the suspense on its candidate for Bangalore South by naming Tejasvi Surya late on Monday night. The party also named Ashwat Narain from Bangalore Rural.
Meanwhile, in yet another twist to coalition politics, the JD(S) returned the Bangalore North seat to the Congress, which, after much dilly-dallying, decided to field RDPR Minister Krishna Byre Gowda from the constituency. Byre Gowda, a reluctant candidate, will take on Union Minister and BJP candidate, D V Sadananda Gowda in Bangalore North.
The JD(S), which was allotted the constituency when the seat-sharing deal was struck, decided to hand it back to the Congress, as it was unable to find a suitable candidate to field here after party supremo H D Deve Gowda decided to contest from Tumkur.
AICC General Secretary and Karnataka in-charge K C Venugopal took to Twitter to thank the JD(S) for returning the seat in the wee hours of Monday. “@INCIndia is thankful to Shri H D Deve Gowda ji and the JD(S) for their kind gesture of giving back the Bengaluru North Lok Sabha seat to the Congress. Together, let us reclaim democracy,” read his tweet.
The Congress, which is contesting 21 seats out of 28, is yet to announce the candidate for the Dharwad Lok Sabha constituency, which will go to polls in the second phase. The JD(S), which is contesting seven seats, is yet to declare candidates for Bijapur and Uttara Kannada seats.
Tejasvi Surya is the General Secretary BJP Youth Wing of Karnataka and an advocate. Earlier, the BJP maintained suspense over naming candidates to five seats, including the high-profile Bangalore South constituency.
The last date for filing nominations for constituencies going for polling in the second phase is March 26.
Tejaswini, wife of the late Union minister H N Ananth Kumar was tipped to succeed her husband in Bangalore South. She had, in fact, even begun campaigning in the constituency. Non-declaration of her name had fuelled speculation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi might contest from here. The BJP top brass has, however, ruled out Modi’s candidature from here.
Though she was slated to file her nominations on Monday, she refrained from doing so, owing to the delay in the announcement.
Late on Monday, when reports emerged that the BJP might field Basavanagudi MLA L A Ravi Subramanya from the constituency, protests broke out in front of Ananth Kumar’s residence in the city.
Shouting, “We want justice, Ananth Kumar amar rahe”, they insisted that the party instead field Tejaswini. Earlier in the day, Tejaswini had requested her party workers to wait for an official announcement.
“Today, hundreds of our anxious well-wishers & BJP karyakartas visited our house. I told them Ananth Kumar ji always believed in: Nation First, Party Next, I Last. On the same lines let’s all abide by the decision of the central leadership & work towards #NamoAgain.”
Sources said Tejaswini’s candidature has been held up owing to a tussle between National General Secretary B L Santosh camp and Yeddyurappa’s camp. It was rumoured that Santhosh himself wanted to contest. But this was apparently contested by the Yeddyurappa camp. With no clarity on who the central leaders would finally pick, names of MLA Suresh Kumar, BJP IT cell chief Tejasvi Surya, technocrats Nandan Nilekani and his wife Rohini Nilekani and Mohandas Pai came to the fore.