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» » » » Congress, BJP field ‘tainted but winnable’ leaders in Karnataka

BENGALURU: Winnability, as they see it, seems to have played a crucial role in the Congress and BJP choosing their candidates for the May 12 assembly elections. Both parties seem to have played it safe as they have relied on sitting and former MLAs and not shied away from fielding tainted ones.

While the Congress has announced candidates for 218 seats and the BJP for 154 seats, there are hardly any new faces on both sides.

People were expecting drastic changes in the selection of candidates by both parties. While AICC president Rahul Gandhi had called for stress on developing youth leadership, the Modi-Shah duo has had a penchant for springing surprises. 

This though has not come true as both parties have harped only on winnability as the sole criterion and given a go-by to principles and discipline.

“The lists of both the parties have nothing new to offer. Both have compromised. It is evident in the fact that tainted people have got tickets. It shows how desperate they are to win Karnataka,’’ said senior political analyst Mahadev Prakash.

READ ALSO: Good luck, women: Of 12 major states, you have least chance of winning in Karnataka

2006 redux: Siddaramaiah vs Kumaraswamy

In the run up to the selection of candidates, BJP national general secretary and Karnataka in-charge P Muralidhar Rao, in an interaction with TOI , had said that the change in party’s thinking will resonate in the selection of candidates, while referring to the chaos that prevailed during the BJP regime in Karnataka.

While Congress has fielded Anand Singh, Satish Sail and Nagendra, named in the illegal mining cases, the BJP has accommodated Gali Somashekhar Reddy, younger brother of mining baron G Janardhana Reddy, H T Suresh Babu and Sanna Fakkirappa, both relatives of Ballari strongman B Sriramulu.

The party is also considering fielding another Reddy sibling, G Karunakar Reddy, from Harapanahalli, say party sources. Though Sanna Fakkirappa has no case pending against him, he is one of the key associates of the Reddy brothers.

This apart, Katta Subramanya Naidu and Ess Enn Krishnaiah Setty, who faced charges of land grabbing, Ashok Kheny of controversial BMIC project, and Goolihatti Shekhar, who tore his shirt in the assembly after being disqualified for crossvoting, have bagged tickets.

 BJP’s mission 150 - Declares former controversial and tainted ministers

CM Siddaramaiah is learnt to have been in favour of replacing 25 sitting MLAs — identified by a series of surveys — but the Congress high command decided to play it safe as the number appeared too high. Also the fact that the JD(S) would eagerly woo its axed MLAs played upon the leadership’s mind. “It’s an important election and even the most unpopular MLA has a section of supporters.We can’t take that risk,” a Congress functionary in Delhi said.

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