Bangalore, March 25 : The Janata Dal (Secular) will field candidates in 27 of the 28 Lok Sabha constituencies in the State. It has entered into a seat-sharing alliance with the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) which will contest in Dakshina Kannada, according to informed sources.
The JD(S) has announced candidates for 23 seats, excluding Chikkaballapur, Bellary, Koppal and Bidar. The party’s candidate for Chikkaballapur will be decided by former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy, who is in two minds whether or not to contest from there. As for the three other constituencies, the JD(S) is waiting for the Congress and the BJP to announce their candidates. Sources in the JD(S) said that the party had given B-Forms to all its declared candidates.
In Bangalore South, social activist Ruth Manorama has been picked to take on Nandan Nilekani of the Congress and H N Ananth Kumar of the BJP. Former MLC, Abdul Azeem, has been fielded in Bangalore North. Nandini Alva, wife of the late Janata Dal leader Jeevaraj Alva, will contest from Bangalore Central.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader C K Jaffer Sharief, who had threatened to quit the Congress and join the JD(S), left the latter red-faced. Days after he suggested that he would quit the Congress party and join the JD(S) once he returned from Mecca where he is on a pilgrimage, there are no signs of his return to Bangalore.
In an e-mail on Sunday, Sharief is said to have told the JD(S) supremo, H D Deve Gowda, that he had been “constrained to contest”. Before embarking on the pilgrimage, he had collected the forms required to file the nomination before papers. He is, however, said to have returned the forms (A and B) to the JD(S).
Muslim scholars are learnt to have advised Sharief against quitting the Congress at this juncture. But he told them that there was nothing left in the Congress for him to continue. He had demanded to be fielded in Bangalore Central but the party preferred Rizwan Arshad. The Congress did not relent even after Sharief openly supported Deve Gowda.
Now that its effort to rope in a senior Muslim leader has likely failed, the JD(S) has decided to field its reserve candidate — Chamundeshwari MLA, G T Deve Gowda or his wife Lalitha — in Mysore. The JD(S) had asked her to be prepared to contest from Mysore only if Sharief declined the offer. The JD(S) supremo was hopeful of convincing Sharief even after the latter sent him the e-mail.
This apart, the JD(S) is to decide on its candidate for Chikkaballapur. Kumaraswamy’s wife, Anitha, on Monday requested her father-in-law, Deve Gowda, to not field her husband in Chikkaballapur. In a TV interview, she said the people of Ramanagar were “emotionally attached” to Kumaraswamy, their MLA.
Anitha is said to have been pressured by party workers to dissuade Kumaraswamy from deserting Ramanagar. Even on Monday, Kumaraswamy did not categorically say whether he would contest from Chikkaballapur. The JD(S) hopes to announce all candidates by Tuesday. Deve Gowda will file his nomination papers from Hassan the same day.