Bengaluru, March 26: This election season in Karnataka, small and new parties are all set to give a stiff competition to the biggies. After the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) recently announced its first list of 18 candidates for the elections, the Swaraj India party is all set to enter the poll fray in the state by announcing 10 candidates in the next week in Bengaluru.
Manohar Elavarthi, a senior member of the Swaraj India party in Karnataka, told OneIndia that next week the party will announce the names of at least seven to ten candidates for the upcoming polls. This will be Swaraj India party's first election in Karnataka. Elavarthi said that all the seven to ten candidates are farmer leaders.
One of the main candidates of the party to contest the elections is the son of deceased farmer leader KS Puttannaiah, Darshan Puttannaiah. Techie-turned-politician Darshan will be contesting elections from Melkote, the constituency from where his father won the 2013 Assembly polls. Senior Puttannaiah, a two-time MLA from Melkote, passed away last month.
"We have a strong base among the farmers in the state. Our leaders are mostly farmers and activists working with the farming community in the state," said Elavarthi. While announcing the name of the candidates, the party will also unveil its manifesto for the elections. The event will see a gathering of hundreds of farmers from across the state in Bengaluru.
Leaders of the Swaraj India party said that it's the time to fight against corruption, lack of development, injustice and agrarian crisis, to name a few problems plaguing the state. "That is why we are contesting the elections," said a young leader of the party.
Members of the party said that they would have loved to field candidates in all the state constituencies, but could not do so because of various problems. "We are a small party trying to build our cadres across the state. We don't even have money to contest the elections. All the selected candidates of the party are spending money from their own pockets," said transgender leader and member of Swaraj India party, Nisha Gulur.
The Swaraj India party was founded last year by political expert Yogendra Yadav and Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan. Both Yadav and Bhushan were among a group of founding members of the AAP, but later they were expelled from the party. Yadav, Bhushan and AAP convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal were the three main faces of Anna Hazare led anti-corruption movement in 2011.
On Sunday, Bhushan spoke about--"Political Corruption and Dangers to Democracy"--organised by the Swaraj Abhiyan and the Jana Sangrama Parishat at a Bengaluru auditorium. He called both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress corrupt. Advocate, politician and anti-corruption activist added that the BJP was a far greater evil than any other political parties in the country because it is systematically destroying all the reputed institutions of India, including the judiciary.
The Swaraj India party, the political wing of Swaraj Abhiyan, a socio-political organisation, recently launched an all-India farmers' agitation from Yadgir in Karnataka. Yadav is leading the agitation.
Along with fielding its own candidates, the Swaraj India party is going to support a couple of independent candidates in the upcoming elections. The elections to the 224-member Karnataka Assembly are likely to take place between the last week of April and the first week of May.
|Karnataka Assembly Election dates|
|Date of notification||April 17|
|Last date to file nominations||April 24|
|Last date to withdraw nominations||April 27|
|Date of polling||May 12|
|Date of counting||May 15|