BJP to field 80 new faces in Karnataka polls

April 11th, 2008 - 12:21 am ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 10 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will field 80 new faces for the Karnataka assembly elections beginning May 10 even as it is also hopeful of an alliance with its former partner Janata Dal-United (JD-U). The Central Election Committee (CEC) of the BJP met under the joint chairmanship of Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani and party president Rajnath Singh here Thursday evening and “cleared 136 candidates for all the three phases,” said BJP general secretary Ananth Kumar.

There are 224 constituencies in the state and the BJP general secretary kept it ambiguous whether the party would set up more candidates or leave the rest of the seats for JD-U.

“Last week JD-U state secretary B. Somashekhar met me and Karnataka in-charge Arun Jaitley in Bangalore and we suggested that our state leaders meet their state leaders to work out some alliance with the JD-U,” Kumar said.

“I am hopeful of an electoral understanding between the two parties on the basis of ground realities. Wherever BJP feels JD-U is strong, we have not fielded our candidates (there).”

The BJP list contains only 44 candidates for the first phase in which elections will be held for 89 constituencies on May 10. “For the second phase on May 16, elections will be held for 66 constituencies of central Karnataka and another 69 constituencies of north Karnataka will go to polls May 22,” he said.

He did not give the phase-wise break-up of the other 92 candidates cleared for the second and third phases.

The party dropped nine of its 79 legislators in the dissolved assembly, said Kumar.

The list has only three women, 18 Scheduled Castes candidates, six from Scheduled Tribes and 24 from the other backward classes (OBCs).

The prominent contestants include late S.R. Bommai’s son Basvaraj Bommai from Shiggaon in Dharwad district and late Veerendra Patil’s son-in-law B.G. Jawali from Aland in Gulbarga district.

Others include the party’s chief ministerial candidate B.S. Yedyurappa from Shikaripura, former ministers defecting from Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) K. Thippeswamy and G.T. Deve Gowda.

“Former director general of Karnataka police L. Revanna Siddaiah will be contesting on the BJP ticket from Varuna constituency,” Kumar said.

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