BJP takes lead in deciding candidates in KarnatakaMarch 3rd, 2009 - 11:00 pm ICT by IANS
Bangalore, March 3 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has taken the lead over Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) in finalising candidates for the two-phase Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka and claims its performance would be better than the previous polls.
A day after the election dates were announced Monday, the party claimed that it would win 22 out of the 28 seats, four more than it had won in the last polls in 2004.
The BJP has announced nine candidates and finalised seven others. The remaining seats will be decided in a week, according to party spokesperson C.T. Ravi.
In the first phase April 23, voting will take place in 17 constituencies and in the second phase on April 30 for 11 seats, according to the schedule announced Monday by the Election Commission.
There are around 40 million (four crore) eligible voters in the state.
The BJP bagged 18 seats in the 2004 polls, its highest in Karnataka, the Congress managed just eight seats and the Janata Dal-Secular took two.
“Our aim is to win at least 22 seats and make our leader L.K. Advani the prime minister,” is the refrain of the party’s chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.
Congress hopes its list of candidates would be ready by March eight. The party has sent a list of probables to the central leadership for clearance.
The JD-S has not yet decided on the nominees as its president, former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda, is busy stitching up a third front in the state with the Left parties, Telugu Desam led by former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and AIADMK of J. Jayalalithaa, former Tamil Nadu chief minister.
As part of its plan to improve on the 2004 performance, BJP is roping in Congress and JD-S leaders to join the party and contest in constituencies where it is weak. Among the prominent Congress leaders to join BJP recently is Gurupadappa Nagmarapalli, who is likely to be fielded from Bidar in north Karnataka.
Nagmarapalli was a Congress legislator from Bidar constituency.
Welcoming the announcement of poll dates, Yeddyurappa told reporters Monday that BJP’s aim was to win at least 22 seats.
There is speculation about Congress being interested in an alliance with JD-S to stop BJP’s march in Karnataka.
But Gowda has been maintaining that his party would not align with the Congress and go with the third front.
He told IANS soon after the poll schedule was announced that his interest was to build an alternative to the Congress and the BJP and “the question of an alliance with Congress does not arise.”
“JD-S is for (maintaining) equi-distance from Congress and BJP,” he asserted.
As of now it appears that it will be a three-way contest in all the 28 seats.