Springing a surprise, the Congress on Sunday named Rajya Sabha member B.K. Hariprasad as its candidate from Bengaluru South Lok Sabha constituency. For the segment, which is among the prestigious constituencies in the State, the choice of candidates was being curiously watched as both the Congress-JD(S) alliance and the BJP had delayed revealing them.
In fact, the BJP is yet to name its candidate for the constituency, which was held six times since 1996 by the late former Union Minister Ananth Kumar.
The constituency had come to the Congress in the seat-sharing arrangement arrived at with the JD(S). Mr. Hariprasad, who rose from National Students’ Union of India ranks to become the party’s general secretary and a Rajya Sabha member, had unsuccessfully contested against Mr. Ananth Kumar in 1999.
Congress sources said Mr. Hariprasad’s candidature came as a surprise for most party men as he had been keen on Bengaluru Central and Uttara Kannada. “However, the party chose Rizwan Arshad [for Bengaluru Central] as it wanted a minority face for the seat”, a party source said.
Sources said most leaders were not mentally prepared to contest in Bengaluru South where Tejaswini Ananth Kumar, wife of the late Union Minister, is the frontrunner to get the BJP ticket. However, there is now uncertainty over who the saffron party will pick for the seat. “Also, the Congress has lost most Assembly segments in the Lok Sabha constituency to the BJP, which makes the fight tougher”, a source said. The party ultimately went with Mr. Hariprasad as he is “a familiar and credible face”.
The Congress, however, is yet to name its candidate for the Hubballi-Dharwad seat, where the BJP’s Pralhad Joshi is seeking re-election. The constituency will go to the polls in the second phase of polling (on April 23). The last date for filing nomination there is April 4.The last date for filing nomination from Bengaluru South is Tuesday.