BENGALURU: To retain the Belagavi Lok Sabha seat for the fourth time in a row, the BJP has a tough task of picking a consensus candidate for the upcoming bypoll.
Party MLC Mahantesh Kavatagimath has now emerged as the frontrunner, while over 10 candidates are in the race, who are trying to pull strings with BJP top leaders in New Delhi and RSS satraps in Nagpur.
Despite pressure to field a family member of former Union Minister late Suresh Angadi, whose death necessitated the bypoll for the Belagavi seat, BJP bosses in Delhi are said to be averse to it.
They have also made it clear that no family member of any of the party leaders, whether it is Angadi or Ministers Jagadish Shettar and Umesh Katti, would be fielded.
Kavatgimath stands a better chance as he is an experienced politician besides being an MLC. He is also from the dominant Lingayat community and is known to have cordial relations with the RSS and BJP top brass.
Kavatagimath, whose MLC term is ending in 5-7 months, said that he will contest if the party picks him. But the party may not want to rush with its decision.
Some of the others in the race are Dr Girish Sonwalkar, Dr Ravi Patil, Shankargouda Patil, M B Zirli, Dr Vishwanath Patil, Ramesh Katti, Amarnath Jarkiholi and Shradha Angadi, daughter of late Suresh Angadi.