BENGALURU: After a prolonged delay, the BJP on Tuesday announced its candidates for the November 3 bypolls -- N Muniratna will contest from Rajarajeshwari Nagar, and Dr Rajesh Gowda from Sira. Both candidates are new faces for the party. While Muniratna, a former Congress MLA, was one of the rebel legislators who jumped ship to the BJP in 2019, contributing to the collapse of the JDS-Congress coalition government, Dr Rajesh Gowda is the son of former Congress MP from Chitradurga C P Mudalagiriappa.
Muniratna’s candidature comes on the day a Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Sharad Bobde, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice V Ramasubramanian dismissed special leave petitions filed by BJP State Unit Secretary Tulasi Muniraju Gowda. Gowda had challenged Muniratna’s election in the 2018 assembly polls. As soon as the legal hurdle in Muniratna’s candidature was struck down, the BJP announced his name for the RR Nagar bypoll.
The BJP state core committee had unanimously agreed on Muniratna’s candidature as a matter of fulfilling the commitment given to him for his role in bringing the BS Yediyurappa-led BJP government to power in the State. The BJP hopes to sail through the RR Nagar bypoll, given Muniratna’s clout and party cadres. The Congress has fielded political newbie H Kusuma, while JDS has chosen local unit chief Krishnamurthy here.
BJP’s Rajesh Gowda joined party recently
In Sira, the party chose newcomer Dr Rajesh Gowda, despite heavy lobbying by former candidates BK Manjunath and SR Gowda. Incidentally, Gowda is a close aide and former business partner of Opposition leader Siddaramaiah’s son and Varuna MLA Dr Yathindra.
In 2016, the BJP had made allegations that Dr Rajesh Gowda and Yathindra’s firm had benefited from nepotism and misuse of the Chief Minister’s office. Rajesh Gowda joined the BJP barely weeks ago and will take on TB Jayachandra (Congress) and Ammajamma (JDS). The BJP core committee has appointed eight in-charges for Sira alone, including Deputy Chief Ministers Govind Karjol and Dr Ashwath Narayan, State General Secretary N Ravikumar, BY Vijayendra, MP PC Mohan, A Narayanaswamy, Poornima Srinivas and Thippeswamy.Arvind Limbavali, R Ashok, ST Somashekhar, Byrathi Basavraj and SR Vishwanath are appointed in-charge of RR Nagar bypolls.