Karnataka bypolls: Ex-AAP leader banks on crowdfunding

Ravikrishna Reddy

Unfazed by his electoral failures in the past, former AAP leader Ravikrishna Reddy is back to take on the upcoming bypolls.

Reddy, who unsuccessfully contested the Assembly elections in 2018 from Jayanagar as an independent candidate, has floated a new party, Karnataka Rashtra Samithi, which will field candidates in all the 15 constituencies facing bypolls.

Going minimalist on election expenditure, Reddy’s new outfit is looking at crowdfunding, a model gaining popularity among parties that see themselves as alternative to mainstream political parties.

Speaking to DH, Reddy said the party had selected 10 candidates at present and would soon finalise others. With an agenda of “clean and honest politics,” the selected candidates have been strictly advised not to take loans or sell any property for elections.

“Election campaigning should not be seen as a personal investment,” he said. In order to raise funds, the candidates will depend entirely on crowdfunding and personal savings. The party is hoping raise Rs 20 lakhs through crowdfunding for the bypolls.

Why the new party?

Categorising the three major political parties in fray in Karnataka as “JCB,” Reddy saw a need for a separate party to pursue the agenda of clean politics. “There are like-minded people who do not wish to join the JCB parties. It is the need of the hour to bring such people together,” he said.

Moreover, contesting as an Independent was limiting in many ways. Recounting his previous campaign, Reddy said fighting elections as an Independent was a challenge. “People in the constituency were asking how one individual, pitting himself against a large group of people, can bring about change.” The reach was limited, too, with none being able to relate to the candidate outside the constituency he was contesting, he added.

Reddy first contested elections in 2008 as an Independent from Jayanagar constituency. In 2013, he contested again from BTM Layout, as a member of Loksatta Party and in 2014 general elections he was AAP candiate from Bangalore Rural.

The constituencies going to byopolls are: Gokak, Athani, Ranebennur, Kagwad, Hirekerur, Yellapur, Yeshwanthpur, Vijayanagar in Ballari, Shivajinagar, Hosakote, Hunsur, KR Pet, Mahalakshmi Layout, KR Puram (in Bengaluru) and Chikkaballapur. This election is crucial for the ruling BJP to assert its majority.

Reddy’s party has opened seven offices across the state - two in Bengaluru and one each in Mysuru, Ballari, Hubballi, Dharwad, Mangaluru and Tumakuru.

 

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