Bengaluru: Karnataka BJP President B S Yeddyurappa Wednesday said the party would finalise its first list of candidates for the Lok Sabha polls on March 16 and that virtually all the 16 sitting party MPs were likely to get tickets to contest. Calling the Congress-JD(S) rule in Karnataka as "Tughlaq Darbar", he said the alliance would benefit the BJP in the polls, as they "lack" understanding between each other.
"I'm confident that because of the state government's failures and achievements of the central government, we will win at least 22 Lok Sabha seats. I have this confidence and we are all working unitedly in that direction," he said. Speaking to reporters here, he said the state BJP core committee would meet on March 15 and on March 16 he would travel to Delhi with state leaders and "the first list of about 20-22 seats out of 28 will be cleared". The BJP had won 17 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, but lost one seat (Bellary) to the Congress in the by-polls.
Out of 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka, the BJP presently has 16, Congress 10 and the JD(S) 2. Yeddyurappa also said that "almost" all 16 sitting BJP MPs are likely to get the ticket. To a question about Speaker Ramesh Kumar still not accepting the resignation of rebel Congress MLA Umesh Jadhav, who recently joined the BJP, he said legal experts have opined that there was no problem for him to contest the Lok Sabha poll. Jadhav will contest the polls on a BJP ticket from Kalburgi (Gulbarga Lok Sabha seat) and is likely to be pitted against veteran Congress leader Mallikarjuna Kharge. Asked whether the Congress and the JD(S) fighting the election as allies would affect the BJP's prospects, Yeddyurappa said it would rather benefit the party. Pointing at the infighting between the coalition partners, he said people were fed up with this government.
"Other than transfer racket and corruption, nothing is happening. It is like a Tughlaq Darbar is going on...there is no understanding between coalition parties and their leaders. ...Kumaraswamy is a Chief Minister limited to four or five districts and not for the state," he added.
Asked whether Sumalatha Ambareesh, wife of late actor-turned politician Ambareesh would be the BJP candidate from Mandya, Yeddyurappa said the party was awaiting her decision.
He said after knowing her stand in one or two days, the BJP would arrive at a decision on what it should do as a national party following discussions with its high command. Asked whether the BJP had invited her to the party or whether she was in touch with the leaders, he said the decision would be taken by the central leadership. According to BJP sources, the party may support her as an independent candidate so that she can continue to bank on the support of disgruntled Congress leaders in Mandya who are upset about their party's decision to cede the seat to the JD(S). Kumaraswamy's son Nikhil Kumaraswamy is likely to be the coalition candidate from Mandya.
To a question about the BJP attempting to form the government in the state once again after the Lok Sabha results, he said, "right now our aim is to win more than 22 seats in the Lok Sabha polls."
"More than 20 Congress MLAs are opposing Kumaraswamy and they are not ready to accept him as the Chief Minister... other things let's wait until the polls results are out, after that I will come back to you," he added. Asked about dynasty politics, with two grandsons of JD(S) patriarch H D Deve Gowda likely to be in the poll fray from Mandya and Hassan respectively, Yeddyurappa said, "I don't want to discuss about it much, but there should be a limit to it. Deve Gowda's family was trying to exceed that limit, and it has caused public outrage," he said. Yeddyurappa's sons too are active in politics. One of them, B Y Raghavendra, is an MP from Shimoga and is aspiring to retain it.