Modi urged to consider B'lore South as second seat

Modi urged to consider B'lore South as second seat

In an interesting development, the BJP has proposed the Bangalore South Lok Sabha constituency as the second seat for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s candidature.

The party which, on Thursday announced Modi’s candidature from Varanasi, had also declared candidates for 21 out of 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka.

However, the non-declaration of a candidate for Bangalore South, where Tejaswini Ananth Kumar has emerged as the front runner for the ticket, came as a complete surprise. Tejaswini was tipped to succeed her late husband and former union minister H N Ananth Kumar, who had represented the seat six consecutive terms since 1996.

While a section of state leaders maintained that her name had been finalised and that her candidature would be announced shortly, sources in the know told DH that the central leadership had particularly withheld her candidature as Modi was considering contesting from two seats, like in 2014. In the previous Lok Sabha elections, Modi had contested from Vadodara and Varanasi.

It is learnt that Modi was advised to zero in on a seat from Southern (Bangalore South) or Eastern India (Puri in Odisha or Kolkata), where the BJP's presence and his own popularity is limited.

“It's a well-thought-out strategy. If Modi contests from a constituency like Bangalore South, not only will the BJP's numbers boost in Karnataka; the party's prospects will dramatically improve in the entire southern region,” said a state leader. The state BJP has claimed that it will secure at least 22 seats in these elections. But an internal survey, indicating poorer performance, is said to have rattled the central leaders. “At best, we are looking at winning 15 to 16 seats from Karnataka this time. But if Modi contests from the state, then we will bag more than 22 seats. We even stand a chance at winning seats like Bangalore Rural, Chikkaballapur, Kolar and Tumkur, if he picks Bangalore South," the leader added.

Yet another gamble

The leader also said that the strategy would help BJP come back to power in Karnataka.

“Modi's candidature from Karnataka will upset the coalition applecart to such an extent that post-elections, the BJP will be in a position to form the government in the state,” said a Bengaluru-based leader.

RaGa & Modi

Interestingly, the proposal for Modi to contest from Karnataka is being revealed days after the clamour for Congress president Rahul Gandhi to contest from the state.

“The state BJP leaders had mooted this idea to Modi during a meeting some time back. But he had dismissed it then. It now looks like he is reconsidering it,” the leader added.

Tejaswini's fate

Apparently Tejaswini will not be given a raw deal. “If this pans out, Modi is certain to win both Varanasi and Bangalore South. In such an event, he will retain Varanasi like last time and resign from Bangalore South, paving way for Tejaswini's candidature,” said party insiders.

Ever since her candidature was finalised a few days back, Tejaswini has been campaigning in the constituency. Though her candidature was opposed by a few Bengaluru leaders, they had later fallen in line.



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