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Political bigwigs are in the fray here

By K.V. Subramanya

BANGALORE, APRIL 17. In the eight Assembly segments coming under the Bangalore North Lok Sabha constituency, it is a triangular contest among the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal (Secular).

The poll outcome in these constituencies will decide the future of some of the political bigwigs such as the Minister for Tourism, J. Alexander, the Social Welfare Minister, A. Krishnappa, and the former Ministers, R. Roshan Baig and B.N. Bachche Gowda.

In Varthur constituency, Mr. Krishnappa is taking on his traditional rival, the former Minister, Ashwatnarayana Reddy of the BJP. Mr. Reddy quit the All-India Progressive Janata Dal (AIPJD) and joined the BJP. Mr. Krishnappa and Mr. Reddy have fought each other three times.

The unwieldy Yelahanka (reserved) segment, the largest in the Bangalore North constituency, is witnessing a contest between the former MLAs, B. Prasanna Kumar of the Congress and V. Shivaraj of the Janata Dal (S). C. Munikrishna, a councillor, is the BJP candidate. Mr. Kumar defeated Mr. Shivaraj in the 1999 elections after losing to him in a byelection earlier.

Katta Subramanya Naidu (BJP) is making all efforts to retain the Shivajinagar seat, which he won in the 1999 elections. The former MP, C. Narayanaswamy, of the Janata Dal (S) and N.A. Harris (Congress) are also in the fray.

In Shanthinagar (reserved) constituency, bickering in the Congress has come to the fore with the party candidate, Muniswamy, alleging that V. Shankar, who was denied the party ticket, is working for the BJP. The BJP has fielded the former councillor, S. Raghu, who lost to Mr. Muniswamy in 1999. The Janata Dal (S) candidate is D.G. Sreedharan, brother of the former MLA, the late D.G. Hemavathi.

The former Minister, R. Roshan Baig, is seeking re-election from Jayamahal. The former Minister, R. Krishnappa, who lost to Mr. Baig last time, is the Janata Dal (S) candidate. The BJP has given the ticket to the social scientist, Mumtaz Ali Khan, who is one of the two Muslim candidates the party has fielded in the State. Pradeep Kumar Reddy of the Janata Party is also in the race.

In Bharatinagar, the Congress candidate, J. Alexander, is facing a challenge from N. Rajanna of the Janata Dal (S) whom he trounced in 1999. The BJP has fielded Nirmal Kumar Surana, a political greenhorn.

In the two rural segments of Hoskote and Devanahalli (reserved), the fight is mainly between the Congress and the Janata Dal (S), as the BJP is not a force to reckon with there. Mr. Bachche Gowda of the Janata Dal (S) is trying for a hat-trick win in Hoskote constituency. His main rival is M.T.B. Nagaraj (Congress), proprietor of the MTB brick industry. Lakshmana is the BJP candidate. The Janata Dal (S) has gained in strength here with Mr. Bachche Gowda's traditional rival and the former Minister, Chikke Gowda, joining the party. Mr. Chikke Gowda quit the Congress after he was denied the ticket.

In Devanahalli, two former MLAs, Muninarasimhappa (Congress) and G. Chandranna of the Janata Dal (S) are in the race again. Mr. Muninarasimhappa defeated Mr. Chandranna in 1999. The presence of a Congress rebel candidate, S.G. Narayanaswamy, has become a cause for worry for Mr. Muninarasimhappa. The BJP's ally, the JD (U), has fielded P.C. Gandhi.

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