Karnataka polls: NCP fields nine candidates, including ex-BJP MLC

Shankar quit the BJP and as MLC after being denied the party ticket to contest the May 10 assembly elections.

New Delhi: The Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Friday said it has fielded nine candidates in the upcoming Karnataka assembly elections, where the BJP, Congress and the JD(S) are locked in a triangular contest.

The NCP has fielded Uttam Patil from Nippani assembly segment in Belgavi district, a region with dominant Marathi-speaking population, where it had actively participated in the agitation against the desecration of a statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

It has fielded Masoor Saheb Bilagi from Devar Hippargi, Zameer Ahmad Inamdar (Baswan Bagewadi), Kulappa Chavan (Nagthan), R Hari (Yelburga), R Shankar (Ranebennur), K Suguna (Hagaribommanahalli), SYM Masood Foujdar (Virajpet) and Rehana Bano (Narsimharaja).

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Hari is the President of the NCP’s Karnataka unit and Shankar a BJP MLC who quit the party after being denied ticket to contest the May 10 elections.

Elected as the lone MLA of Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party (KPJP) from Ranebennur constituency in 2018, Shankar later joined the Congress.

However, he withdrew his support to Congress-JD(S) coalition government led by then Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, when a few MLAs from both parties resigned. He was then disqualified considering the fact that he was a Congress member. Shankar joined the BJP and was elected to the Legislative Council.

Shankar quit the BJP and as MLC after being denied the party ticket to contest the May 10 assembly elections.

NCP’s decision to field candidates in Karnataka is seen as an attempt to regain the national party status it had to forego due to its depleted political fortunes in states such as Goa, Meghalaya and Manipur.

The party’s entry into the electoral fray in Karnataka came at a time NCP supremo Sharad Pawar is leading efforts to forge opposition unity for the Lok Sabha elections next year.

The Congress is expecting a big victory in the Karnataka Assembly polls as it yearns for a reversal of its sliding electoral performance since the loss in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

The NCP also announced its list of star campaigners Sharad Pawar, Praful Patel, Supriya Sule, P P Mohammad Faizal, Fouzia Khan, Clyde Crasto, among others.

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