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Parties hit by electoral blues in Karnataka

PTI | Last Updated: Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 15:16

Bangalore: Electoral blues of one type or the other has hit all the three principal players -- ruling Congress, BJP and JDS -- in the run up to Lok Sabha polls in Karnataka, with the Deve Gowda-led party facing most embarrassing ones.

With an open-door policy for party hoppers, JDS scrambled for candidates in the eleventh-hour as it sought to fish in troubled waters of its opponents and lay its hands on "prize catch" in a predatory move that backfired in several cases.

The party faced the most embarrassing moment on Saturday, when its candidate for Uttara Kannada, former minister Shivananda Nayak bowed out of the race, citing financial constraint, leaving Gowda red-faced.

A former BJP MLA, he had joined Karnataka Janatha Paksha, which former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa floated and recently merged with his parent party, before embracing JDS.

JDS recently roped in former Union Minister Dhananjay Kumar from KJP after he was refused entry to BJP and Mahima Patel from Congress. Kumar has been fielded from Udupi-Chikkamagalur and Patel, son of former Chief Minister J H Patel, in Davanagere.

It also almost coaxed former Railway Minister C K Jaffar Sharief, who miffed at being denied the ticket from Bangalore Central, had given strong indications about joining JDS.

Sharief, a seven time MP, left the Congress but developed cold feet on his entry to JDS, which was toying with the idea of fielding him as its candidate in Bangalore Central, where minorities have a significant sway, or in Mysore.

Similar was the case with former high-profile Bangalore Police Commissioner H T Sangliana, who had complained that his Congress party had ignored Christians, picking up which JDS had tried to woo him but he too had a change of mind to remain in his own party.

The final list of 12 candidates at last came on Wednesday. JDS whose influence is mainly spread across the Vokkaliga belt is contesting all the 28 Lok Sabha seats.

In the case of BJP, the party ended with egg on its face when it discarded right wing outfit Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik within hours after inducting him, after criticism within the party and its opponents.

A rebuffed Muthalik, whose outfit was linked with the 2009 attack on young women at a Mangalore pub as part of its moral policing, is now contesting against state BJP chief Prahlad Joshi from Dharwad and also against Ananth Kumar whom he blamed for his plight, from Bangalore South.

Congress is also having its own set of woes. In Mandya, actress Ramya who won the seat in a bye-election, is fighting the battle with a divided district unit.

Similarly, Congress is facing simmering discontent in local units in several other constituencies, including Shimoga where Kumar Bangarappa had openly expressed his displeasure over being denied the ticket.

He has accused some party leaders of conspiring against him but has not jumped into the fray.

The party failed to retain Sharief, whose is influential among Muslims in Bangalore Central, though its efforts paid off in preventing the exit of Sangliana.

First Published: Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 15:16
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