The inclusion of Irfan Talikote -- fiancé of fake stamp paper scam mastermind Abdul Karim Telgi's daughter -- in former Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa's newly launched political outfit, the Karnataka Janata Party, has raised many eyebrows.
In all probability, the KJP will field Talikote from Khanapur in Belgaum in the next elections.
Although Talikote is in no way connected with the multi-crore scam, people are still surprised over his nomination to the party.
The KJP has said that since Talikote is not involved in the scam, it sees no harm in his joining the party.
Hitting out at his detractors, Irfan Talikote said that he has an identity of his own and wants to work for the development of his constituency. The misdeed of another man is not something he wishes to discuss, he said, and it was being brought up unnecessarily and out of context.
Political observers in Karnataka, however, do not see this as some run-of-the-mill candidature. There is a conscious effort to portray Yeddyurappa as a secular leader and reduce the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh baggage he carries. A Muslim vote share in Northern Karnataka along with the Lingayat votes would increase Yeddyurappa's prospects in the region.
If the Muslim vote bank in Belgaum was Yeddyurappa's concern, then why was Irfan Talikote, who is engaged to Telgi's daughter, his first choice?
Political circles in Karnataka are abuzz with talk that Yeddyurappa's primary agenda was to weaken the Bharatiya Janata Party and he was doing so at the behest of the Congress. Yeddyurappa has several cases against him and many feel that by distancing himself from the BJP, he gains the goodwill of the Congress and as a favour he may be protected from the cases against him.
Yeddyurappa realises that the Congress' bigger interest is the downfall of the BJP and in the long run he may just become a pawn. The stamp paper scam is probably one of the biggest scams in the history of the country and the investigations show that a majority of the persons whose names figure in it are from the Congress. Analysts question if this is Yeddyurappa's way of keeping the Congress under check.
Irfan Talikote may have a lot of information about the scam although he is not involved in it and this could be a way of keeping the Congress under check. It's surprising that Yeddyurappa chose to rope in Talikote, as he was the one who had made the biggest noise about the multi-crore scam when he was leader of the opposition. Yeddyurappa may believe that since Talikote is associated with the Telgi family he may have some more information regarding the case and this could be used against his political opponents.
Telgi's advocate, M T Nanaiah, however, says that not much should be read into his candidature.