Bengaluru: Former Ministers S.A. Ramdas and G. Karunakar Reddy, former Assembly Speaker K.G. Bopaiah and sons of three sitting Legislators, figure in the third list of 59 candidates announced by the BJP yesterday for the May 12 Assembly polls. With the announcement of the third list, BJP has so far named candidates for 213 seats and is yet to declare its nominees for eleven more including Varuna, Badami and Yeshwanthpur in Bengaluru.
Former Minister S.A. Ramdas has been fielded again from Krishnaraja (K.R.) constituency in Mysuru and sitting MLA K.G. Bopaiah from Virajpet in Kodagu.
Karunakar Reddy, who held the Revenue portfolio in the previous BJP regime, had to step down after a Lokayukta report on illegal mining named him. He has been fielded from Harapanahalli in Davanagere district.
Karunakar’s younger brother G. Somashekar Reddy has been given the ticket from Ballari city.
Former MLA K. Raghupathy Bhat has been given the ticket to contest from Udupi. Bhat countered controversy after his wife was found dead in mysterious circumstances. Former MLA M.P. Kumaraswamy, who has been given the ticket from Mudigere (SC), had assaulted his wife in public at the Legislator’s Home in Bengaluru in 2016.
Children of three sitting Legislators also figure in the list. Govind Karjol’s son Gopal Karjol (Nagathana-SC), Senior BJP leader and MLC Ramachandra Gowda’s son Sapthagiri Gowda (Gandhinagar) and V. Somanna’s son Dr. Arun Somanna (Arasikere).
Interestingly, the party is yet to announce its candidate for Yeshwanthpur, Bengaluru, where there is speculation that MP Shobha Karandlaje may be given the ticket. With a large number of ticket aspirants, K.R. Assembly segment in Mysuru had become tricky for the BJP top brass. Former MLC G. Madhusudan had opposed giving ticket to Ramdas calling him ‘tainted.’ H.V. Rajeev, who was a keen aspirant, is disappointed with the denial of ticket to him. Rajeev had unsuccessfully contested on a KJP ticket in 2013.
Actress Malavika Avinash and former MUDA Chairman K.R. Mohan Kumar too had lobbied hard for the ticket from this Brahmin-dominated seat.
In Chamundeshwari, where the fight is mainly between CM Siddharamaiah and JD(S) sitting MLA G.T. Devegowda, the BJP has fielded Gopal Rao, a surprise choice.
Gopal Rao, a member of the party’s National Executive, is associated with the RSS since the Jan Sangh days and had twice served as the President of BJP Chamundeshwari Assembly Constituency Unit.
The party has named Shwetha Gopal from K.R. Nagar, Ramesh Kumar from Hunsur and S. Shankar from T. Narasipur (SC) Assembly segments.
The BJP, however, has not named its candidate for Badami in Bagalkot district from where CM Siddharamaiah is expected to contest as his second seat. Five-time Congress MLA N.Y. Gopalkrishna, who quit the party a couple of days ago after being denied a ticket, has been given the ticket to contest from Kudligi (ST) seat. Other prominent names in the list include actor Saikumar from Bagepalli, B.P. Harish from Harihar, M. Lakshminarayan from Chamarajpet and M.N. Reddy from Sarvagnanagar to take on Minister K.J. George.
In Mandya, where it does not have a strong base, the party has fielded Satheesh from Maddur, H. Manjunath from Melukote, Basavegowda from Mandya, Dr. Parthasarathy from Nagamangala and Bukahalli Manjunath from K.R. Pet. The party had already announced the names of farmer leader K.S. Nanjundegowda from Srirangapatna and former Minister B. Somasekhar from Malavalli (SC) in the two remaining Assembly segments of the district.
Surprisingly, the party has still not announced ticket to B.Y. Vijayendra, son of party State President B.S. Yeddyurappa, even though the former is campaigning in Varuna and has also taken a house on rent in the Constituency. Vijayendra’s candidature will in all probability be announced on Saturday or Sunday, but the delay has not only surprised the party leaders but even leaders of other parties.
The BJP has named former MUDA Chairman L. Nagendra as its candidate from Chamaraja. Nagendra had unsuccessfully contested the seat in 2013, coming a close third after losing out to Vasu of Congress and H.S. Shankaralingegowda of JD(S).