Shivananda Naik cites financial crunch as the reason
The Janata Dal (Secular) received another jolt on Saturday when its Uttara Kannada candidate Shivananda Naik withdrew his nomination, facilitating a straight fight between sitting Lok Sabha member Ananth Kumar Hegde of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prashant Deshpande of the Congress.
The first jolt came when its Gangavathi MLA Iqbal Ansari did not file the nominations for Koppal LS constituency on the last day and announced the party’s support to secular forces.
A triangular contest was expected in Uttara Kannada as Mr. Naik too was considered a force to reckon with.
Mr. Naik told The Hindu that the former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and Sorab MLA Madhu Bangarappa, who brought him to the party offering ticket, did not fulfil the promise of bearing the election expenditure. “I cannot spend from my pocket, putting my family in peril,” he said.
Reacting to the withdrawal, Mr. Kumaraswamy said, “Fifty per cent of the promise had been fulfilled and he was committed to keep up his promise. Mr. Naik should reveal the real reason behind the withdrawal. If he was unable to contest the polls, he should have told the party before filing the papers.”Reluctant to contest
However, Mr. Naik said, “From the beginning, I was reluctant to contest as I did not have my own resources. Still, I got pamphlets and other poll material ready on my own. I was in Bangalore before filing the papers, and I told the party leaders to look for another candidate if they are unable to bear the election expenditure. After filing the papers, neither Mr. Kumaraswamy nor Mr. Madhu accepted my telephone calls. I had also told the leaders that I would be forced to withdraw the nomination if they do not keep up their promise.”
Asked whether this would create a void in the constituency, Mr. Naik said it was solely due to the party leadership. “Ten minutes before the withdrawal deadline, party national president H.D. Deve Gowda called me, urging me not to withdraw. But I had already made up my mind.” Mr. Naik withdrew the papers at 2.50 p.m. on Saturday.
On the allegations that the withdrawal was ‘influenced’ by one of the candidates in the fray, Mr. Naik said people in the constituency know his ethical standards. “I’ll not stoop to such a low level,” he said.