Former Karnataka chief minister and Janata Dal (Secular) leader H D Kumaraswamy Thursday threatened to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Chikkaballapur constituency. Following a meeting with party workers, Kumaraswamy said the JD(S) wants him to take on Union Minister for Oil and Natural Gas Veerappa Moily and BJP leader B N Bachegowda.
But the former CM claimed he would take a final decision after meeting party workers in Ramanagar Assembly constituency, which he represents in the state legislature. He said he was wary of dumping the Ramanagar constituency in a bid to become an MP.
Kumaraswamy, son of the former PM and JD(S) chief H D Deve Gowda, said, “Party workers are demanding I contest from Chikkaballapur. I will discuss this with party workers in Ramanagar and announce my decision within two days.”
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Kumaraswamy was the MP from Bangalore Rural till last year, and quit the seat after being elected to the state Assembly from Ramanagar.
“Water is the main problem for people of Chikkaballapur. No one has solved this problem. Moily is saying he will provide water through the Ettinahole lift irrigation project, but it is not possible. I will not contest from here if Moily promises he will provide 24 TMC water through this project,” Kumaraswamy said in the presence of more than 10,000 party workers. “Kumaraswamy is under a lot of pressure from party workers in Chikaballapur to contest the polls,” Gowda said.
The constituency is dominated by the Vokkaliga community, which widely supports the JD(S), and Moily is perceived to be on a weak footing this time round. Meanwhile, the JD(S) is keeping both the Congress and the BJP guessing over the candidates it would field in crucial constituencies in Karnataka. While the Congress and the BJP have revealed 26 and 25 candidates respectively for 28 constituencies in the state, the JD(S) has revealed only 16.
Starved of good candidates, Gowda’s party has been pouncing on Congress and BJP rebels. On Thursday, it officially decided to field disgruntled former BJP minister V Dhananjay Kumar from Udupi-Chikamagalur. Over the next few days, the JD(S) is expected to field disgruntled Congress leaders — former railway minister Jaffer Sharief in Mysore, former Bangalore police commissioner H T Sangliana in Bangalore Central and former CM J H Patel’s son Mahima Patel in Davangere. This could help the JD(S) emerge as a crucial third player in some constituencies. “Jaffer Sharief and Sangliana have spoken to me. I have offered them tickets. We will declare their candidatures in a day or two after they officially enter the party,” Gowda said.
Sources said that in Bangalore South, where former Infosys CEO Nandan Nilekani is fighting on a Congress ticket against the BJP’s five-time MP Ananth Kumar, the JD(S) is mulling fielding its Muslim MLA from Chamarajpet constituency, Zameer Ahmed Khan. In Bangalore North, the party is considering fielding former police official K C Ramamurthy. In Bangalore Central, the JD(S) may field H T Sangliana.