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BJP looks to pitch Ratnaprabha against Mallikarjun Kharge, retain most MPs

BJP looks to pitch Ratnaprabha against Mallikarjun Kharge, retain most MPs
Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge (Photo | PTI)

BELAGAVI: Looking to give sitting senior Congress leader M Mallikarjun Kharge a run for his money from Kalaburagi parliamentary constituency in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, the state BJP is planning to field retired Chief Secretary K Ratnaprabha against him. Dr Tejaswini, wife of former Union Minister H N Ananth Kumar, is tipped to be the canditate from Bengaluru South while all other 15 sitting MPs have been shortlisted as probables in their respective constituencies.

In the light of its recent losses in the assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, BJP has decided to play its cards extremely cautiously in the 2019 LS polls. Sources said list of probables drawn up by state BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa after his recent tour of all LS constituencies, is expected to be passed on to the BJP national leadership shortly. The top brass is likely to make changes in the list before taking a final call.

“After the party’s loss in the assembly polls in different states, BJP bosses in Delhi will not take a final call on state’s party candidates in haste. The final list will be declared only after a prolonged exercise which includes getting reports about the probable candidates from people and party workers at the grassroots. Opinions at all levels will be gathered prior to finally selecting the candidates,’’ sources added.Apart from recommending sitting MPs in their respective seats, names of some other party leaders have also been suggested in constituencies as alternative candidates.

Besides naming three-time MP Suresh Angadi for Belagavi Lok Sabha seat, the state leadership has also suggested the name of Rajya Sabha member Prabhakar Kore. “Yes, I am an aspirant for a Lok Sabha ticket and I want to contest either from Belagavi or Chikkodi seat. So far, the party has not decided on who should be party’s candidate from Belagavi.The process to identify a fit candidate for Belagavi is still on,’’ said Kore. Kore is closely associated with the party central leadership and is expected to lobby for the ticket as the process for shortlising candidates gathers momentum.

However, while stating that Kore has two more years left of his term as Rajya Sabha MP, Angadi insisted he will contest for a fourth term from Belagavi.As regards Raichur, either MLA K Shivangouda Nayak or former MP Sanna Phakirappa is expected to contest while name of former minister S S Mallikarjun (expected to join BJP after Operation Lotus) has been shortlisted for Davanagere constituency along with sitting MP G M Siddeshwar. For Hassan, MLC Tejaswini Ramesh and former minister R Vijayashankar have been shortlisted while Madar Chennayya Swamiji and former MP J N Janardhan Swamy are probables from Chitradurga. For Mandya, BJP probables are Laxmi Ashwin Gowda, N Cheluvarayaswamy and Dr Siddaramaiah.

In some of the constituencies represented by Congress or JD(S) candidates, Yeddyurappa has recommended new faces capable of taking on the opposition, the sources said.BJP has recommended the names of former MP J Shanta, former MLA Suresh Babu, B Nagendra (sitting Congress MLA expected to join BJP) and Venkatesh Prasad, brother of B Nagendra. Congress’ V S Ugrappa had registered a landslide win in the bypoll. The BJP virtuallystands no chance of winning in Ballari but is still expected to field a candidate who can put up a fight, sources added. The party will also retain sitting MPs D V Sadananda Gowda for Bengaluru North, P C Mohan for Bengaluru Central while it has recommended Magadi Balakrishna or R Ashok for Bengaluru Rural.

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