The JD(S) has failed miserably in its search for formidable candidates for the Lok Sabha elections: it has ended up fielding as many as 19 candidates who are either lightweight turncoats or political greenhorns.
This is certainly not good news for a party that is hoping to play a major role in forming a non-Congress and non-BJP government at the Centre after May 16.
Poaching of leaders during elections is not new to the JD(S). But unlike in the past, this time it has failed to net any big fish.
This despite waiting for ‘strong’ candidates till the early hours of Wednesday, the last date for filing nominations.
Of its 26 candidates (the party is not contesting in Koppal and it is backing an SDPI candidate in Mangalore), only seven including H D Deve Gowda and H D Kumaraswamy are from the party and have a strong base. The rest either joined the party ahead of elections or were persuaded by the party to contest elections.
Prominet among them are Mahima Patel, Dhanajay Kumar, Geeta Shivrajkumar and retired IAS officer K Shivaram.
What is most serious is that the party’s failure to find formidable candidates in Old-Mysore region which is considered to be it’s stronghold. The party had to literally struggle to find candidates for Mysore, Bangalore North, Bangalore Central, Chikballapur and Bangalore South.
It was hoping that disgruntled Congress leader Jaffer Sharief will come to its fold and contest from Mysore.
But Sharief turned down the offer, putting the JD(S) in a fix. The party finally persuaded former Upalokayukta Justice Chandrashekharaiah to contest from Mysore.
Similarly, the party had to scout for candidates in most of the constituencies in North Karnataka, but ended up fielding political novices.
Of the 26 constituencies contesting, JD(S) has given six tickets to Vokkaligas, four to Lingayats, two to Muslims, eight to SC/STs, four to Other Backward Classes and one each to Christian and Jain.
Mahima Patel, Dhananjay Kumar, Ravi Menasinakai, Shivananad Naik, Goolihatti Shekhar
Chandrashekharaiah (Mysore), Srimanth Patil (Chikkodi), Naseer Bhagwan (Belgaum), Ravi Hunasihal (Bagalkot), K Shivaram (Bijapur), Devendrappa Naik (Raichur), Ravindra Kumar (Bellary), Hanumantappa Bankapur (Dharwad), Nandini Alva (Bangalore Central), Ruth Manorama (Bangalore South), K Keshav (Kolar)