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A risky decision to field new faces in Gulbarga

By T.V. Sivanandan

GULBARGA, MARCH 29. The Bharatiya Janata Party, which is making a bid to regain the Gulbarga Lok Sabha seat which it lost to the Congress in the previous elections and establish its presence in the Assembly constituencies, has taken a calculated risk in selecting new faces for five of the eight Assembly segments in the Gulbarga Lok Sabha constituency.

The party has reposed faith in Chandrasekhar Patil Ravoor and Shivalingappa Naribol by fielding them again in the Gulbarga city Assembly constituency and the Jewargi Assembly constituency, respectively.

The Gulbarga city Assembly constituency, where the BJP has considerable presence, is crucial as the party is banking on it to establish a sound lead for its Lok Sabha candidate, Basavaraj Patil Sedam.

Mr. Ravoor lost the last elections by a margin of 11,770 votes to the Labour Minister, Qamar-ul-Islam.

Mr. Ravoor had polled 67,446 votes in the 1999 elections. Mr. Sedam, who contested the Lok Sabha elections on the BJP ticket, had polled 73,364 votes from this Assembly constituency.

Mr. Naribol lost the Jewargi Assembly seat by a slender margin of 1961 votes to N. Dharam Singh of the Congress in the last elections.

Surprisingly, Mr. Sedam polled more votes than Mr. Naribol in Jewargi and achieved a lead of 3,826 votes by polling 39,318 votes in the Lok Sabha elections.

The party has chosen the former legislator, Veeraiah Swamy, as its candidate in Chincholi where the party polled 25,515 votes in the Lok Sabha elections and 15,724 votes in the Assembly elections.

Mr. Swamy, who resigned from the Congress and joined the BJP, won the seat in 1985 as the Congress candidate by a slender margin of about 1,200 votes. Mr. Swamy was also a member of the Legislative Council for one term in the 1990s.

However, the party has taken the risk by fielding new faces in the other five constituencies — Shahabad, Sedam, Chitapur, Gurmitkal and Afzalpur. While the party has fielded Sunil Valyapur in Shahabad, the former Gulbarga Development Authority chairman, Shyamrao Pyati, has been fielded in Gurmitkal against the Home Minister, M. Mallikarjun Kharge.

Prabhu Kanta is the party candidate in Chitapur. He will take on the Minister of State for Small Savings and Lottery, Baburoa Chinchansur. The party has fielded Rajkumar Patil in Sedam, and Indira Shakti will fight in Afzalpur against the former Minister, Malikayya Guttedar.

While the party has a good presence in Shahabad and Mr. Valyapur, general secretary of the State Scheduled Caste Morcha of the party, is considered to be a formidable candidate. In 1999, the BJP polled 30,206 votes in the Assembly elections and 36,797 votes in the Lok Sabha elections.

Dr. Shakti, who belongs to the Kabbaliga community, is a new comer to politics. Though Dr. Shakti hails from Afzalpur, the candidate is little known among the electorate in the constituency. In 1999, the BJP polled 5,168 votes in the Assembly elections and 20,745 in the Lok Sabha elections.

Dr. Kanta, who has been fielded in Chitapur, is a new face. Likewise, Mr. Rajkumar Patil is a new entrant in Sedam. In 1999, the BJP, which had allotted the Chitapur Assembly seat to the Janata Dal (U), polled 34,099 votes in the Lok Sabha elections. Similarly, in Sedam the party had allotted the Assembly seat to the Janata Dal (U). It polled 37,369 votes in the Lok Sabha elections.

Mr. Shyamrao Pyati is not new to electoral battles. He contested on the Janata Party ticket in the 1983 elections from the Kamalapur reserved constituency and lost to the Congress candidate.

Govind Vodeyaraj is new to Gurmitkal Assembly constituency, which is being represented by Mr. Kharge since 1972. Gurmitkal had given a solid lead of more than 32,800 votes to the Congress candidate, Iqbal Ahmed Saradgi, in the Lok Sabha elections in 1999.

The BJP, which had left the seat to the Janata Dal (U), had polled 15,200 votes in the Lok Sabha elections in the constituency. Mr. Pyati would face an uphill task to counter the popularity of Mr. Kharge in the constituency, which has become a safe haven for the Congress and Mr. Kharge.

Of the remaining five Assembly constituencies in the district, the party has left the Aland and Yadgir to the Janata Dal (U) according to the seat adjustments.

It has announced the names of Venugopal Jewargi for Surpur, Mallanna Reddy for Shahapur and re-nominated Revu Naik for the Kamalapur constituency, which it won in the 1994 and 1999 elections.

While Aland and Kamalapur fall in the Bidar Lok Sabha constituency, Surpur, Shahapur and Yadgir are attached to the Raichur Lok Sabha constituency.

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