Over 800 candidates in fray for phase II polls in Karnataka

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Bangalore, Apr 29 (UNI) Over 800 candidates entered the fray for the second phase of Assembly elections in Karnataka from ten districts on May 16, as about 305 candidates filed on the last day of filing nominations today.

Prominent among those, who entered the fray, included former Deputy Speaker N Y Gopala Krishna of Congress from Monakalmur and Thippeswamy, former Janata Dal(JD)(S) strongman, who recently defected to Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) from Challakere in Chitradurga district. A former Congress district president R Manjunath also filed his nominations as an Independent from the same district, after he was denied ticket by the party.

Bellary district, which is likely to witness a close contest between Congress, BJP and the JD(S), saw as many as 98 candidates file their papers today.

In all, more than 305 candidates put in their papers for Raichur, Koppal, Uttara Kannada, Bellary, Chitradurga, Davanagere, Shimoga, Udupi, Chickmagalur and Dakshina Kannada districts.

For the third and final phase polling on May 22, as many as 38 candidates had filed their nomination papers, including BJP candidate B G Patil from Gulbarga north Assembly seat. Ten northern districts, including Belgaum, Bhagalkot, Bijapur, Gulbarga, Bidar, Dharwad, Haveri and Gadag, would also face the electorate on the same day.

A high drama was witnessed in Davanagere where the official Congress candidate Syed Saifullah gifted the 'B' form issued by party high command in favour of S S Mallikarjun, reportedly under duress.

Mr Mallikarjun, a former state minister and district Congress president, who had earlier submitted his nomination papers, handed over the amended 'B' form to the returning officer. However the paper submitted by Mr Mallikarjun was likely to be rejected during the scrutiny on technical grounds.

Earlier, state Congress general secretary Manjunath Bhandari flew in a helicopter with B form in the name of Mr Saifullah, which the latter offered it to Mr Mallikarjun.

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