Rajeev Chandrasekhar was nominated mainly as he has helped swing votes in Bengaluru Urban and Bengaluru Rural districts.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar is BJPs Rajya Sabha candidate Cong goes for three Kannadigas
news Politics Sunday, March 11, 2018 - 22:52

The Karnataka Congress and BJP units announced their candidates for seats which are up for grabs from the state for the Rajya Sabha.

As speculated earlier, retiring independent candidate Rajeev Chandrasekhar is BJP’s pick while Congress has chosen Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee Vice President L Hanumanthaiah, AICC Spokesperson Naseer Hussain and Political Secretary to KPCC President GC Chandrashekar.

Rajeev Chandrashekhar has been MP twice before, first in 2006 and then in 2012 as an independent candidate. He got the support of the BJP and JD(S) on both occasions. He is also the founder and chairman of Jupiter Capital Pvt. Ltd, a financial services and investment company. He has invested in numerous media companies including Asianet News and Republic TV, in which he is the largest investor.

A BJP functionary, with knowledge about the goings-on, told TNM that Rajeev Chandrasekhar was nominated mainly as he has helped swing votes in Bengaluru Urban and Bengaluru Rural districts.

“Over the past four years, Rajeev Chandrashekhar has become a people’s person and has put a positive spin to the BJP's campaign in Bengaluru's urban and rural districts,” the source added.

 The Congress and combinations 

Terming them as a ‘no holds barred’ choices, Congress sources said that careful considerations of caste combinations were at play while selecting its candidates.

Though the Congress High Command had suggested the name of Sam Pitroda, Siddaramaiah had been adamant that only people hailing from the state would be made candidates.

The JD(S) which had failed to come to an understanding with the Congress stuck with billionaire business tycoon BM Farooq as its candidate.

Speaking to TNM, a senior Congress leader said that since the party had decided not to back the JD(S) candidate this time and field three of its own, there had been several rounds of discussion. 

The candidates were chosen keeping in mind the caste combination, whilst also appeasing some of the veteran politicians in the state.

“Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is set on countering the BJP’s Hindutva agenda with his own brand of Kannadiga agenda. Invoking Kannada pride and uniting vote banks based on language identity is the top priority this time. For this reason alone, all three candidates needed to be Kannadigas. Hence L Hanumanthaiah who was the Kannada Development Authority Chairman in 2014 was nominated. He is also a Dalit and fielding one such candidate is crucial,” the senior Congress leader said.

AICC Media Spokesperson Naseer Hussain was chosen to replace long-standing Congress candidate K Rahman Khan.

“This is very important because Naseer Hussain is from Ballari and he is also a Kannadiga, a long time party man and belongs to the minority community. Earlier Saleem Khan was being considered but he is an aspirant for a ticket to contest from Haveri in assembly polls," the source added.

GC Chandrashekar, a prominent Vokkaliga face in the party ranks, who is also Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) chief G Parameshwara's political secretary. was chosen as a counter to the JD(S) candidate.

“No matter which candidate is fielded from JD(S) it will still be known as a party of Vokkaligas. Initially, the caste combination that the party was aiming for was the Dalit-minority-Lingayat one but after various rounds of talks, it became evident that Lingayats had been given adequate representation through Water Resource Minister MB Patil, senior Congress leader SR Patil and various other leaders. It was the Vokkaliga face that the Congress needed. Hence GC Chandrashekar was chosen,” another Congress leader told TNM.

Notable omission

Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s nomination came as a major blow to Vijay Sankeshwar, owner of the influential Kannada newspaper Vijayavani and logistics firm VRL.

Sankeshwar previously owned Vijaya Karnataka until, which was bought by The Times Group in 2007 after which he started Vijayavani.


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