None of the three major political parties in Karnataka have announced their list of candidates despite the state election being barely a month away. The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party are both facing dissidence within their ranks. This has delayed the process of finalising candidates for the polls.
The Janata Dal - Secular, the third largest party in Karnataka, has also decided to bide its time before releasing the list of candidates. Dissidents from the BJP and the Congress are likely to quit their respective parties if they don’t find a place in the final list. The JD-S wants to rope in such dissidents before finalising its candidates for the state polls.
The Congress, meanwhile, is witnessing the embarrassing spectacle of daily protests outside the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee’s office by party leaders who are either seeking tickets or agitating against the decision to grant tickets to certain leaders.
On Tuesday, some Congress members protested against the decision to grant a ticket to former Member of Parliament Tejaswini Ramesh.
The party is also dealing with a feud between senior leaders Siddaramaiah and G Parameshwar. Both leaders are trying to ensure that their candidates get a place in the final list.
The Congress top brass is aware of the fact that the party has a chance of winning the state election with a decent margin, but only if it puts up an united front.
The party’s screening committee has decided to sort out these problems before releasing its final list.
The BJP is facing its own share of problems thanks to friend-turned-foe B S Yeddyurappa. The party does not want to release its list till it finds out which leaders will eventually quit the BJP to join Yeddyurappa’s party.
While the BJP had expected 15 Members of Legislative Assembly and loyalists of the former chief minister to quit the party, top leaders are now holding talks with these dissidents and trying to change their mind.
Senior BJP leaders recently met Yeddyurappa’s supporters, including Murugesh Nirani, Basavaraj Bommai and Umesh Katti, and urged them to stay back in the BJP and fight on a party ticket.
The saffron party is expected to release its list, with names of the 170 candidates who will contest in the first phase of the state polls, by Friday.
Meanwhile, the JD-S is banking on the infighting in the BJP and the Congress. It is hoping to poach some leaders from these parties so that it can make inroads in northern Karnataka, where it doesn’t have much of a political presence currently.