No visible signs of rebellion among Council poll aspirants

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: There is little visible rebellion in parties in the run-up to the December 10 elections to 25 Council  seats, unlike assembly polls where high-voltage drama is common, and when rebels often contest as independent candidates. The major factor in Council elections is allegedly the large amount of money which is reportedly distributed among the electorate. Gram Panchayat members, who constitute a majority of the electorate, are not bound to any party. 

In the Congress, dissidence is at a low after KPCC president DK Shivakumar’s reported promise to influential aspirants of tickets to contest the 2023 assembly elections. Out of 25 seats, the BJP has fielded candidates in 20 seats, and there is some ‘rebellion’ in Belagavi dual seat where Lakhan Jarkiholi is contesting as an independent. Lakhan is identified with the BJP, and is the younger brother of Ramesh and Balachandra Jarkiholi, who are BJP MLAs.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Wednesday observed that Lakhan’s contest will not affect the chances of the party’s official candidate, Mahantesh Kavatagimath, the incumbent MLC. “Ramesh and Balachandra have stood strong with party candidate Kavatagimath. Since Lakhan is not with our party, I will speak to his brothers,” Bommai said.

According to party sources, Lakhan’s contest will not affect the BJP but may spoil the chances of Congress candidate Channaraja Basavaraja Hattiholi, younger brother of Congress MLA Lakshmi Hebbalkar. “Lakhan might have traction with the electorate, irrespective of party, and can win independently. The BJP has over 60 per cent voters,” sources said.

In places like Uttara Kannada, rebellion in the BJP was nipped in the bud. Senior leader Bhasker Narvekar, who had put in 30 years of party work, was a strong contender but was convinced not to file nomination papers by district minister Shivaram Hebbar, that paved the way for Ganapathi Ulvekar to become the party candidate. 

Even with the Congress, three or four candidates who filed nominations as independents, withdrew their papers on Wednesday and more are likely to do so by Friday, the last date for withdrawal of nominations.
The Congress candidate from Kodagu Mantar Gowda, son of BJP leader A Manju, is considered an outsider, and was Congress party’s ZP member in Hassan, but faced no rebellion. Only three, including Mantar, Suja Kushalappa of BJP and H U Isaq are in the fray. Similarly in Chitradurga, B Somashekar of the Congress, a Kuruba and supporter of Opposition leader Siddaramaiah, faced no rebellion despite his credentials being questioned.

Nominations of about 110 candidates, including independents, AAP, SDPI and newly floated KRS, Janahita Paksha and Raitha Bharata Party candidates were found to be valid after scrutiny.

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