KARNATAKA

JD(S) to field candidates for 20 Council seats

BANGALORE NOV. 6. The President of the Janata Dal (Secular) State unit, Siddaramaiah, today said the party would field candidates for 20 of the 25 seats in the biennial elections to the Legislative Council from the local authorities constituency to be held on December 1.

He told presspersons here that the Parliamentary Board of the party would meet on November 13 to release the final list of candidates. November 14 was the last day for the filing of nominations. In some of the districts elections would be held for two seats, but the party would contest only one seat. The party had worked out a strategy at a meeting here on Wednesday attended by State-level office-bearers of the party and presidents of the district units.

The JD(S) would hold a "Sammilana Samavesha" on November 12 at Hospet in Bellary District. Leaders of the All-India Progressive Janata Dal (AIPJD) such as M.P. Prakash, B.N. Bachche Gowda, A.K. Krishnamurthy, and Amare Gowda would join the party on that day, he said.

Mr. Siddaramaiah said the JD(S) was the "real alternative" to the Congress in the State. "The BJP is a sinking boat," he said and charged that the party had no commitment to social justice and empowerment of women.

The suicide by the Anekal Town Municipal Council President, Manjula Adikeshava (27), of the BJP, was clear proof of the harassment of women representatives by the BJP leadership, he charged.

Manjula Adikeshava committed suicide on Wednesday after she was humiliated by some members during a council meeting. Mr. Siddaramaiah offered his condolences and urged the Government to conduct an inquiry and punish those responsible.

The JD(S) leader also criticised the President of the BJP State unit, H.N. Ananth Kumar, for his statement on the Dattapeetha issue. The BJP was creating a controversy over the Dattapeetha celebrations in Chikmagalur district in view of the approaching Assembly elections, he charged.

Mr. Siddaramaiah alleged that in the name of party fund, the Congress Government in the State had collected Rs. 30 crore by sanctioning 268 TCH institutes. A sum ranging between Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 15 lakh had been collected from the managements, he charged.

The JD(S) would prepare a charge-sheet of the "wrongdoings" of the Government and place it before the electorate during the campaign, he added.