Both BJP and the Congress have fielded tainted candidates – which has been protested to by cadres of both the parties, for the forthcoming Karnataka elections on May 12. Apparently, the primary criteria for this closely contested elections for selection of candidates for both political parties was winnability. It is apparent from the list of candidates that both the parties wanted to feel safe with their candidate list and therefore have chosen sitting and former MLAs and even those who have been previously accused of corruption and loot.

One would hardly find any new names in the 218 candidates announced by the Congress or the 154 announced by the BJP.

There were high expectations of major changes from both the parties with respect to candidate selection. But people have bene disappointed. While the Modi-Shah combine has a knack of coming up with surprises, a call for the development of youth leadership in the party was given by Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Those claims and expectations however have been soured as both the political parties have focused solely on winnability as the primary criteria and have not cared about principles and discipline.

“The lists of both the parties have nothing new to offer. Both have compromised. It is evident in the fact that tainted people have got tickets. It shows how desperate they are to win Karnataka,’’ senior political analyst Mahadev Prakash told the media.

The selection of the candidates for the Karnataka assembly elections would reflect the change in the thinking of the BJP, party national general secretary and Karnataka in-charge P Muralidhar Rao, had said in an interview to the media before the selection of candidates. He had said this in reference to the chaos which was seen when the BJP ruled in the state.

H T Suresh Babu and Sanna Fakkirappa, both relatives of Ballari strongman B Sriramulu and Gali Somashekhar Reddy, younger brother of mining baron G Janardhana Reddy have been fielded by the BJP while the congress has included names such as Anand Singh, Satish Sail and Nagendra, named in the illegal mining cases, in its list of candidates for the assembly elections.

BJP sources also added that there is contemplation of announcing the name of G Karunakar Reddy, another of the Reddy brother from the Harapanahalli constituency. Sanna Fakkirappa is regarded as one of the key associates of the Reddy brothers even though he does not have any pending cases against him.

In addition to the above names, other controversial names for the election include Goolihatti Shekhar, infamous for having torn off his shirt within the state assembly following his disqualification on charges of crossvoting, Ashok Kheny of controversial BMIC project, and Katta Subramanya Naidu and Ess Enn Krishnaiah Setty, who were accused to land grabbing.

According to sources making the political rounds in the state, a proposal of replacement of at least 25 sitting MLAs was presented by CM Siddaramaiah. These names were reportedly identified through a series of surveys done earlier. However, the proposal was rejected by the Congress high command because the numbers appeared to be too high, according to sources, and instead decided to play a safe game.

(Adapted from TimeofIndia.IndiaTimes.com)