KARNATAKA

Advani to launch BJP campaign from Tumkur

TUMKUR, FEB. 26. The Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, is scheduled to visit Tumkur on Sunday and launch the Bharatiya Janata Party's election campaign in the State.

The President of the Tumkur district unit of the BJP, M.D. Lakshminarayana, who represented Turuvekere in the 11th Legislative Assembly, told The Hindu that the party leaders were mobilising people from 13 Assembly constituencies for the meeting to be addressed by Mr. Advani. He said Mr. Advani had started the last three election campaigns in Karnataka from Tumkur.

Mr. Lakshminarayana said that of the 13 Assembly segments from the district, the BJP retained the Tumkur seat and won the Turuvekere seat in the 1999 elections. Somla Naik, former MLA from Pavagada, had resigned from the All-India Progressive Janata Dal (AIPJD) and joined BJP.

Members of the Madhugiri unit of the AIPJD, led by Ashok Rajavardhan, son of Rajavardhan, former Minister, had joined the party. The party was quite strong in Kunigal, Gubbi, Tiptur, Kallambella, and C.N. Halli, he added.

Mr. Lakshminarayana said the BJP had not decided on fielding S. Shivanna, who represented Tumkur in the dissolved Assembly, to contest the Tumkur Lok Sabha seat. "The Congress has announced its candidate. The Janata Dal (Secular) is yet to disclose its choice. We will wait for a few more days,'' he added.