Like other fringe outfits, BSP to go it alone in K'taka

Mayawati

Several ‘fringe’ parties want to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha election in Karnataka and offer voters a political alternative to the BJP and the Congress-JD(S) coalition.

Prominently, the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has decided to not to ally with the JD(S), the two parties had a pre-poll truck for the May 2018 Assembly polls, and contest from all 28 seats.

“The Congress and the JD(S) are going together. We will not have any role,” BSP state president N Mahesh said. The party has identified Chamarajanagar, Mysore, Chikkaballapur, Bidar, Gulbarga, Chikkodi and Bagalkot as priority seats.

In Chikkaballapur, the BSP will field former backward classes commissioner chairperson C S Dwarakanath, who is known to be an architect of the Ahinda (Kannada acronym for minorities, backward classes and Dalits) movement that pushed Congress’ Siddaramaiah to power.

Dwarakanath is determined to defeat the incumbent, veteran Congress leader M Veerappa Moily, and is eyeing Dalit and backward classes votes in the constituency. “I’m stronger than Moily. I’ve asked the Congress not to contest,” he said.

“I was among those who helped Moily win here, but we’re disappointed with his lies. A survey has shown that I have a good opportunity,” the Ahinda leader added.

The JD(S) is considering fielding former Supreme Court Justice V Gopala Gowda in Chikkaballapur.

Another party that wants to contest all 28 seats is the Karnataka Janata Ranga formed by anti-graft activist Ravi Krishna Reddy. “We believe strictly in clean, honest and pro-people politics. We’ve invited the second-third rung workers from the JD(S), the Congress and the BJP to join us, because they can’t contest there without money or dynasty,” Reddy said.

Actor Upendra’s Uttama Prajaakeeya Paksha (UPP) will field candidates in all 28 seats. “Those aspiring to contest were given questionnaires. The best of them went through a personal interview and written test. After March 10, we will finalise and share all details,” Upendra said during a social media interaction earlier this week.

The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), led by firebrand leader Asaduddin Owaisi, is eyeing three constituencies - Bijapur, Gulbarga and Chikkodi - where Muslim votes are significant. For the May 2018 Assembly polls, the party decided at the last minute to not contest and extended support to the JD(S) instead.

The Yogendra Yadav-led Swaraj India, which fielded 11 candidates in the Assembly polls, will contest from either Mandya or Mysore this time. “We’re yet to finalise candidates,” the party’s state chief Chamarasa Mali Patil said, adding that late Melukote legislator K S Puttannaiah’s wife was in the race.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will not contest in Karnataka. Instead, the party has extended support to actor Prakash Raj, who is contesting as an Independent from Bangalore Central.

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Like other fringe outfits, BSP to go it alone in K'taka

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