Karnataka 2021 MLC elections: candidate selection sparks row of nepotism

Eleven of the 121 candidates running for 25 Karnataka Council seats are relatives of political leaders. This prompted Congress and the BJP to bring allegations of nepotism against each other.

The December 10 election will be held in 20 local organization regions whose current members will retire in January.

Congress has seven candidates who are parents of key leaders. The BJP gave tickets to three of these people and the JD (S).

The Congress Party candidate list includes R Rajendra, who is the son of former MLA KN Rajanna party from Tumkur region, Channaraja Basavaraja Hottiholi, brother of MLA Lakshmi Hebbalkar from Belagavi, S Ravi, a relative of the president of Congress of State DK Shivakumar of rural Bengaluru, Sunil Gowda Patil, brother of MP MB Patil of Vijayapura, Sharana Gowda Patil, a relative of MP Amare Gowda Patil of Raichur, Mantar Gowda, son of former head of Congress A Manju from Kodagu, and Bhim Rao Patil, brother of MP Rajasekhar Patil from Bidar.

The BJP selected MLC Pradeep Shettar, brother of former chief minister Jagadish Shettar, as the candidate for Dharwad. He chose DS Arun, son of former DH Shankaramurthy Legislative Council President for Shivamogga, and Suja Kushalappa, elder brother of MP Madikeri Appacchu Ranjan for Kodagu.

The JD (S) gave a ticket to Suraj Revanna, a grandson of former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda and son of top leader HD Revanna, to compete from the Hassan region. Suraj Revanna is the eighth member of the Deve Gowda family to enter politics. The JD (S) only gave tickets to seven candidates for the MLC polls.

The choice of candidates sparked debate.

“In JD (S), eight people from one family share power, but the Congress party has gone further on this issue. From the position of ACEC national president to the selection of candidates for legislative council elections, Congress has honored nepotism, ”the BJP said in a tweet Tuesday.

Karnataka Congress President DK Shivakumar said, “Let the BJP first review their list and tell who they have given tickets to in Kodagu, Dharwad and other places. Let them face the mirror first and we’ll talk later.

The choice of candidates has also created difficult situations for political parties in some places. The choice by the Congress of candidates for the regions of Kodagu and Belagavi created a controversy.

In Kodagu, Congress aligned Mantar Gowda, the son of former MP Hassan A Manju – who is currently with the BJP. Noting that Congress handed a ticket to Manju’s son, the BJP relieved Manju of all party responsibilities.

Manju was a minister in the Congressional government led by Siddaramaiah before moving to BJP and running, unsuccessfully, as the Hassan candidate of the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

With Congress giving Channaraj Hottiholi a ticket to the Belagavi region, a Congress leader from the region, Lakhan Jarkiholi, chose to run as an independent candidate in the region. Hottiholi is the brother of Congressman Lakshmi Hebbalkar who is a close associate of state congressman DK Shivakumar.

Lakhan Jarkiholi is the brother of BJP MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi who is embroiled in a bitter personal feud with DK Shivakumar and Hebbalkar.

Tickets were distributed in Congress between the candidates of the Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah factions.

The BJP has retained top leaders such as Backward Class Welfare Minister Kota Srinivas Poojary of Dakshina Kannada, Chief Whip Mahantesh Kavatagimath of Belagavi and Deputy Council Chairman MK Pranesh of Chikkamagaluru.

The JDS which only fielded seven candidates must support BJP candidates in places where the JDS did not present candidates, said BJP leader and former CM BS Yediyurappa.

Currently, the ruling BJP holds 32 seats in the 75-member house, while Congress has 29 seats and JD (S) has 12 seats. The BJP hopes to win at least 15 seats, Yediyurappa said. The BJP is currently dependent on the JDS to get the legislation passed through the council and is keen to wrest full control from the upper house to set its agenda for the adoption of new laws that are in the works.

In total, 121 candidates filed 215 nominations, according to the electoral commission. The deadline for the withdrawal of candidatures is November 26 and the counting of the votes will take place on December 14.

Martin E. Berry