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It's Raining Parties in Karnataka This Election Season; Congress Sees BJP Hand

The new outfit named “Bharatiya Janashakti Congress” or BJC wants to take on the ruling Congress and main opposition BJP in the Assembly polls likely to be held in May.

D P Satish | News18.comdp_satish

Updated:March 20, 2018, 8:33 AM IST
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It's Raining Parties in Karnataka This Election Season; Congress Sees BJP Hand
Just 20 people attended the launch which took place at 12th-century social reformer Basavanna’s birthplace Basavana Bagewadi in Bijapura district. (Image: Network18)
Bengaluru: On the day of Ugadi a new political party was born in Karnataka. The new outfit named “Bharatiya Janashakti Congress” or BJC wants to take on the ruling Congress and main opposition BJP in the Assembly polls likely to be held in May.

The founder of the party is Anupama Shenoy, a controversial former police officer. Shenoy, a DySP rank officer, had the Karnataka Police Service after a major showdown with the Siddaramaiah government two years ago.

After her attempts to take her resignation back failed, Shenoy has taken a plunge into politics. Just 20 people attended the launch which took place at 12th-century social reformer Basavanna’s birthplace Basavana Bagewadi in Bijapura district. Addressing the near empty hall, the former cop thundered that her party will defeat the Congress in Karnataka.

Speaking to News18, she said, “My party will fight corruption and enforce law and order strictly. The Congress government in Karnataka is highly corrupt. The people want a break from bigger political parties”.

Shenoy is not alone in her “fight” against bigger political forces in the state. At least half a dozen new political parties have arrived on the poll scene of Karnataka in the last just six months.

Sometime in last November, Nowhera Sheikh, a businesswoman, launched a political party to empower women. The CEO of jewellery chain Heera Group, the burqa-clad Nowhera claims that her party All India Mahila Empowerment Party (AIMEP) is a national political outfit and she wants to empower women irrespective caste, creed, religion and domicile tag.

Speaking about the party’s entry in Karnataka, she said “Karnataka has equal gender ratio but all the major positions are held by the men here, it has never seen a woman Chief Minister in its constitutional history. Women always play a major role in the socio-economic development in Karnataka either business, home, services or sports. They have an important role in each and every aspect of life, so why not in politics?”

She has been touring the length and breadth of Karnataka in a helicopter to mobilise support. According to her close aides, Nowhera will field women candidates in at least 100 Assembly seats in the state.

Veteran Kannada activist and former MLA Vatal Nagaraj has also launched a new political party called “Karnataka Praja Samyukta Ranga” to fight the Assembly polls on a Kannada plank.

Aam Aadmi Party founding member Yogendra Yadav’s “Swaraj Abhiyan” has decided to contest from Melukote in Mandya district this time. According to party sources, the Congress has agreed to give them one seat and Yadav’s party may not contest in any other seat in the state.

On the other hand parties like MIM of Asaduddin Owaisi, Mayawati’s BSP, Sharad Pawar’s NCP etc are also trying their luck in all important Karnataka Assembly polls. The BSP and NCP have joined the JDS led pre-poll alliance to take on both the Congress and the BJP. Even though Owaisi is keen on joining them, JDS supremo H D Deve Gowda is not showing much interest fearing an upper caste Hindu backlash. MIM office bearers claim that they will contest on their own if the alliance does not work out.

But political analysts and leaders of the major parties believe that one or other party or person is behind these new outfits or alliances.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has openly called MIM a “vote cutting” party backed by the BJP to eat into Congress votes. AICC general secretary and in charge of Karnataka affairs K C Venugopal has also alleged that Mayawati joined hands with Deve Gowda to help the BJP in the elections.

The AAP and a breakaway faction of the Arvind Kejriwal’s party are also in the fray making the elections more interesting.

Commenting on the trend, senior journalist Gautham Machaiah said that voters of Karnataka are mature and can see through such gimmicks. “I think most of these parties are proxies. Some may be BJP proxies. But it will not work here. All of them together may not get even 1% vote.

Even mighty leaders like S Bangarappa and B S Yeddyurappa could get 10% votes on their own. They badly lost. In Karnataka, it will not work,” he said.

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| Edited by: Puja Menon
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