Former Minister Shobha Karandlaje’s demand for a BJP ticket from Bangalore North Lok Sabha constituency has added to the woes of former Deputy Chief Minister R Ashok, who is still in a dilemma on whether to project himself as a candidate or just remain as a party loyalist.
Ashoka, who succeeded in foiling the ambition of former Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda to contest from Bangalore North, is now facing a new competition from Shobha, who has the backing of former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa.
Seeking two days time to decide if he is ready to contest or let the party choose some one else, Ashok has left for Tiruvannamalai with his loyalists Dasarahalli MLA Muniraju, Bangalore South MLA M Krishnappa and former K R Puram MLA Nandish Reddy to seek the blessings of Lord Arunachaleshwara.
Ashok Goes to Thiruvannamalai
When asked about his sudden departure, he said, the visit to the holy place with close party colleagues is not politically motivated.
Ashok is said to be engaged in intense discussions with his loyalists on the consequences of him contesting the election.
According to sources, he is worried about any threat to his stature as the party strongman of Bangalore after BJP National General Secretary H N Ananth Kumar. Ashok has been trying to convince the party high command to select a candidate of his choice for the constituency.
According to the party sources, Ashok reportedly floated the names of Malleswaram MLA Ashwath Narayan and former K R Puram MLA Nandish Reddy as potential candidates.
However, with Shobha refusing to contest from any other seat except Bangalore North, there is a real threat to his plans.
Now, it will be very difficult for the party leaders to keep Shobha or Sadananda Gowda away from Bangalore North, if Ashok refuses to contest.
With Shobha throwing her hat in the ring claiming that she too is a local candidate as she had represented Yeshwantpur Assembly constituency previously, Ashok is in a real dilemma as he fears that a victory for the new candidate may see the emergence of a new rival in his own political turf in the long run.
If he decides to contest and move to national politics, then his stronghold over the State BJP is bound to weaken, a former BJP minister told Express.
The Bangalore North Lok Sabha constituency has eight Assembly segments - K R Puram, Byatarayanapura, Yeshwantpur, Dasarahalli, Mahalakshmi Layout, Malleshwaram, Hebbal and Pulakeshinagar.
While K R Puram, Byatarayanapura, Yeshwantpur and Pulakeshinagar have Congress MLAs, Hebbal, Dasarahalli and Malleshwaram have BJP MLAs, while JD(S) has won the Mahalakshmi Layout.