Yeddyurappa Stamp on BJP Second List as ‘Tainted’ Reddy Gets Ticket, No Muslims or Christians Included

At 75, the former CM was making one last bid for the top post. His party had for one made a special concession overlooking the age bar set for holding an executive position.

Bengaluru: The BJP second list with 82 names proves that party’s chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa still has clout and he has managed to secure tickets for most of his loyalists.

The four BJP MLAs who went to jail during the BJP regime have also been nominated by the party.

The saffron party seems to have focused more on winnability than any other considerations. Yeddyurappa, who was on back foot till last week, has regained the strength and has an upper hand in selecting the candidates.

His loyalists, former ministers Katta Subramanya Naidu, Krishnaiah Shetty and Haratalu Halappa who were in jail, have also got the tickets. The youngest among the mining mafia barons Bellary Reddy brothers and former MLA, G Somashekhara Reddy has also got the ticket from Bellary City. He was also in jail for allegedly bribing a judge for his elder brother G Somashekhara Reddy’s bail.

Even after party’s national president Amit Shah has publicly disowned the Bellary Reddy brothers, one of them, Somashekhara Reddy, and a close family associate Sanna Fakkirappa have made it to the BJP list in a surprise development.

Three defectors, Kumar Bangarappa, N L Narendra Babu and Sandesh Swamy, also figure in the list. Those who openly took on Yeddyurappa have also missed the chance.

In the second list there are 32 Lingayat names, about 10 Vokkaligas, 20 Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and others. The first and second list don’t have a single Muslim or Christian candidates.

By not giving tickets to Christians or Muslims, the BJP seems to be repeating its Uttar Pradesh strategy. Like UP, Karnataka has a numerically-significant Muslim population, but the BJP has not deemed it fit to name a single candidate from the community so far. The party had faced flak in UP too, but defended its stance, by saying that it must look at winnability. “I want to make an appeal to all Muslim brothers and sisters that they should join us. We will not allow hatred to prosper,'' Rajnath Singh had said.

There was a lot of opposition to fielding “tainted” candidates in this election. After the ruling Congress declared names for 218 seats at one go and stressed more on winning factor, the main opposition BJP seems to have decided to give one more chance to the “black sheep” in the party, considering their clout.

The party has also given chance to 22 new faces in the second list. When compared to Congress list the BJP has more new faces.

Yeddyurappa loyalists Murugesh Nirani, Siddu Savadi, Kalakappa Bandi, Madalu Virupakshappa, Araga Jnanendra, B Sukumara Shetty, Prof. Mallikarjunappa and Nirajanakumar have also got tickets. Despite stiff opposition, Yeddyurappa has been able to field his loyalist and former minister Haratalu Halappa who was acquitted of rape charges last year from Sagara in Shimoga district. Former BJP MLA from the same seat, Belur Gopalakrishna has blamed Yeddyurappa and his son B Y Raghavendra for it.

After the first list with 72 names led to an internal war in the BJP, Yeddyurappa has managed to convince the high command to give prominence to his candidates and secured tickets for the most.

After BJP fielded four “tainted” faces the Congress is also thinking about re-nominating Shanthinagara MLA N A Haris, whose candidature has been put on hold for his son Mohammad Nalapad’s goondagiri at a pub in Bengaluru, claims a top leader in the state Congress.

“Haris has not done anything wrong. His son is a culprit and we have sent him to jail. If the BJP can field “jailbirds” like Katta Subramanya Naidu and Krishnaiah Shetty, why can’t we re-nominate Haris?” asked another leader.