The Party is delaying the finalization of its list to know the political moves by its fence-sitters

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday put off the process of finalisation of it’s first list of candidates for the forthcoming Assembly election till March 31 as part of the strategy and also due to the huge demand for tickets from aspirants.

Though the Party’s core committee – the highest decision-making body comprising Party state president, chief minister and two deputy chief ministers among others – discussed the issue in Bangalore on Tuesday, the meeting decided to take some more time to finalise the names.

Accordingly, the core committee will now consult the district presidents of the party on March 30 and 31 to help it finalise the names of candidates. “We will finalise our first list of candidates comprising 130 to 140 names on March 31 and forward it to the Party Central Election Committee on the same day for getting approval,” sources said. But they made it clear that though the names of candidates would be finalised on that day, they would not be made public. “We have adopted a wait-and-watch policy as part of the political strategy before publicly announcing our first list of candidates as some of our legislators including ministers are likely to move to the Karnataka Janata Party,” sources noted.

The fence sitters have become tricky for the BJP while finalising the tickets. While it would be embarrassing for the party if they quit after getting its tickets, not giving tickets to them would kick up political dust and make them to immediately join the KJP even if they are in a dilemma on quitting, sources noted. In this context, the party is also playing a waiting game and repeatedly putting off the date for finalisation of the first list of candidates.

Presently, two ministers M. P. Renukacharya and Murugesh Nirani have given clear indications that they will be quitting the BJP to join the KJP. Though there are reports of another two ministers Umesh Katti and V. Somanna too getting ready to join the KJP, sources in the BJP said: “We are keeping our fingers crossed with respect to Mr. Katti and Mr. Somanna as efforts are still on from our side to keep them with us.”

Meanwhile the party is said to be facing huge demand for tickets from aspirants in the constituencies which are not represented by it in the Assembly. “As the party has decided to give tickets to almost all its sitting MLAs, there is no problem in deciding the candidature in those constituencies where we have our MLAs. But in other constituencies, the list of aspirants is growing and has touched as high as 20 in some. Hence we are consulting our district units’ presidents before the selection process,” sources said.

Manifesto on April 7 or 8:

Meanwhile, BJP Manifesto Committee chairman and MP D. B. Chandre Gowda said the manifesto was likely to be released either on April 7 or 8. He told reporters in Bangalore that the first meeting of the manifesto committee had been held on Tuesday. The manifesto would be finalised after another two to three meetings, he noted.

More In: Karnataka | National