GUJARAT Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Friday skipped the first meeting of BJPs Central Election Committee (CEC),in which he was inducted last weekend to mark his ascendancy,that finalised 140 candidates for the May 5 Karnataka Assembly elections. Modi is also set to skip the launch of BJPs poll campaign in the state with a mega rally on April 8.
Leaders of Opposition Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley have decided to raise their hands to be counted in BJPs last ditch attempt to save Karnataka despite dark shadows over party prospects cast by intense factional rivalry during the last five years in the state. Swaraj and Jaitley are slated to join BJP president Rajnath Singh in launching the BJPs poll campaign on April 8.
The BJP has organised a Vijay Sankalp Sammelan on April 8 that will be addressed by Rajnath Singh,Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, BJP general secretary Ananth Kumar announced after releasing partys first list of candidates.
Narendra Modi will participate in campaigning in Karnataka,but Vijay Sankalp Sammelan will be addressed by Rajnath Singh,Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, Kumar said.
As many as six key Lingayat leaders who were considered loyal to former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and whose exit to the breakaway Karnataka Janata Party the BJP managed to arrest were named in the first list of 140 candidates.
Basavaraj Bommai,Umesh Katti,Murugesh Nirani,C C Patil,Lakshman Savadi and S K Bellubi who were expected to lead a Lingayat exodus from the BJP to the KJP have been chosen as BJP candidates.
Apart from the Lingayat loyalists of Yeddyurappa the BJP first list has given representation to several long standing party loyalists who enjoy the backing of the RSS like former state president K S Eshwarappa,C T Ravi from Chikamagalur and S A Ramdas from Mysore.
Sitting MLAs who have remained loyal to the party have also been selected for tickets once again.
One of the Reddy triumvirate of Bellary,G Karunakara Reddy,who was among the chief forces behind the BJP in the 2008 polls,will contest again on a BJP ticket from the Harapanahalli constituency. Following the arrest of his brother former minister G Janardhan Reddy in a multi crore illegal mining racket G Karunakar Reddy has maintained a low political profile choosing to remain in the BJP instead of joining the BSR Congress floated by his brother and associates.
The BJP first list largely contains candidates for the partys strongholds in the state in the north,the coastal regions and Bangalore.