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BJP picks Hema Malini for RS

S. Rajendran

Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa had favoured Dhananjaya Kumar


Hema Malini's candidature is believed to have been recommended by Ananth Kumar

Dhananjaya Kumar missed nomination to the Rajya Sabha in 2010




Hema Malini and V. Dhananjaya Kumar


Bangalore: Dissidence is again raising its head in the Bharatiya Janata Party in Karnataka with the national unit of the BJP selecting noted film actor Hema Malini as the party candidate for the byelection to the Rajya Sabha seat scheduled for March 3.

Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa had conveyed to senior leaders of the party that he favoured the former Union Minister of State for Finance V. Dhananjaya Kumar, who is the Special Representative of Karnataka in New Delhi.

It is widely believed that the candidature of Ms. Hema Malini has been recommended by the party general secretary H.N. Ananth Kumar, and it is common knowledge that the camp of the Chief Minister does not see eye to eye with that of Mr Ananth Kumar.

Interestingly, the national unit has announced the candidature of Ms. Hema Malini even before the State Election Committee, headed by the party State unit president K.S. Eshwarappa, met and recommended the name to the national unit for consideration.

Sources in the BJP told The Hindu that the name of the film actor had been cleared as two major Assembly elections are due this year and she would be one of the star campaigners of the party in those polls.

The Assembly elections are due in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, and given the fact that she hails from the former State, Ms. Hema Malini is being billed as a key campaigner for the party.

Ms. Hema Malini's first foray into Parliament was in 2003 when she was nominated by the Vajpayee government.

Her term in the Rajya Sabha ended in 2009. Mr. Dhananjaya Kumar missed nomination to the Rajya Sabha in 2010 and again this year. The last date for filing of nominations for the byelection is February 21.

Break-term

The winning candidate will, however, only enjoy a break-term given the fact that it will end on April 2, 2012, although in the normal course a member of the Rajya Sabha enjoys a six-year term.

The byelection to the seat, which fell vacant following the death of the former Union Minister, M. Rajashekara Murthy who was a member of the Rajya Sabha for several terms, is expected to generate a lot of interest given the fact that it will be another test of strength between the BJP and the Opposition Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular).

The present strength of the Assembly is 206, with the BJP commanding a strength of 108 members (including the Speaker and an Independent —Varthur Prakash), the Congress 71 and the Janata Dal (Secular) 27.

Of the 108 members of the ruling party, the nominated member of the Anglo-Indian community (Derrick Fullinfaw) cannot vote in an election to the Rajya Sabha.

The Congress and the Janata Dal (S) have not made up their mind on fielding a candidate obviously since the candidate will have to face defeat given the provisions of the anti-defection law which bars cross-voting.

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