National parties finding it tricky to finalise last few candidates

The political situation in Karnataka, particularly in the two national parties, is in a state of flux with some veterans being relegated to the background in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, which is expected to lead to dissent although the need of the hour is unity ahead of the electoral battle.

Several aspirants have been denied ticket by both the Congress high command and the Bharatiya Janata Party national leadership even as the Janata Dal (Secular) is finalising the list of candidates.

While the Congress has announced candidates for 24 of the 28 constituencies in the State, the BJP has announced candidates for 25 constituencies. Finalising the last few candidates has turned out to be trickier for the two national parties than coming up with the first list in which most of those who won the 2009 elections found a place.

If the Congress has denied ticket to veteran leader and former Union Minister C.K. Jaffer Sharief, the BJP while welcoming the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa back to its fold has denied an invitation to some of his close followers, including the former Union Minister V. Dhananjaya Kumar, resulting in him holding discussions with the Janata Dal (Secular) to join that party. A section of the central leadership of the BJP is also keen on denying an entry to BSR Congress leader B. Sriramulu while the State leadership has repeatedly conveyed that the merger of that party with the BJP is an immediate necessity for both sides. Given the provisions of the Anti-defection law, as made out in the 10th schedule of the Constitution, only a merger of the two parties will help both sides and not merely a ticket to Mr. Sriramulu to contest from Bellary.

Element of surprise

By introducing an element of surprise in those selected for the contest, both the Congress high command and the BJP national leadership have sought to convey to the local leaders that if winning elections is of paramount importance so is the discipline that is expected from the rank and file.

It should be noted that even as the Congress leadership was in the process of finalising the list of candidates, Mr. Sharief, who lost the 2009 elections in the Bangalore Central constituency, identified himself as a supporter of the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda by requesting the AICC president to refrain from fielding a candidate against the JD(S) national president. If this is one instance in the Congress, there is the case of Mr. Dhananjaya Kumar who in the company of Mr. Yeddyurappa (while in the Karnataka Janata Paksha) spoke against the senior leaders of the BJP.

The issue of the election notification in Karnataka is just four days away and there is no sign of the political dust settling down, so much so, there is also the scope for political realignment. The Aam Aadmi Party has also announced a list of candidates to contest from some of the constituencies in the State, although most of its candidates have no large following which is a must in a Lok Sabha election what with each constituency comprising seven or eight Legislative Assembly segments and a voter strength averaging around 17 lakh.

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