BJP candidate in Karnataka quits party, re-joins Congress

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Bengaluru, Nov 1 (IANS) Two days ahead of polling, L. Chandrashekar, the BJP candidate in the by-election to the Karnataka Assembly from Ramanagara on November 3, on Thursday announced that he had quit the party to return to the Congress.

Chandrashekar, 49, who was earlier a Congress leader, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on October 10 to contest the Ramanagara by-poll on the party ticket.

“BJP leaders had promised their support to me when I decided to contest on the party ticket from Ramanagara. However, none of them (BJP leaders) even came forward to campaign for me. So, I decided to quit the party and return to Congress,” he told reporters here.

Chandrashekar was contesting against Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy’s wife Anitha Kumaraswamy of the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) from the Ramanagara seat, which is a strong hold of the JD-S.

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As Chandrashekar’s decision comes two days ahead of the by-poll and post the last date of withdrawal of candidatures, an Election Commission official said his name will continue to remain on the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

“It is legally not allowed for any candidate to withdraw his/ her nomination after the last date set by the EC. Even if one withdraws from the poll, his/ her name will remain on the EVMs, which have already been set,” state’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sanjiv Kumar told IANS here.

BJP state unit president B.S. Yeddyurappa termed Chandrashekar quitting the party an attempt by the Congress to “lure” the candidate with money.

“It is evident that the Congress leaders are using money power to defect candidates,” Yeddyurappa told reporters.

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Kumaraswamy, on the other hand, said it was time for the BJP to “introspect” instead of blaming other parties.

The by-election to the southern state’s two Assembly segments — Ramanagara and Jamkhandi — and three Lok Sabha constituencies — Ballari, Shivamogga and Mandya — will be held on Saturday. The vote count will take place on November 6.

Ruling coalition partners in the state — JD-S and Congress — are contesting the by-election together in a bid to defeat the BJP.

–IANS

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