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Karnataka RS polls: Will it be Rajeev Chandrashekhar or Vijay Sankeshwar for the BJP

By Vicky Nanjappa
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    The BJP is set to announce its candidate for the Rajya Sabha elections from Karnataka. Given the number in the Karnataka assembly, the BJP can elect one candidate to the upper house of Parliament.

    The two candidates in the race for the post are Rajeev Chandrashekhar and Vijay Sankeshwar. There are several considerations before the BJP before it finalises the candidate.

    Rajeev Chandrashekhar and Vijay Sankeshwar

    The candidate selection would take place keeping in mind the upcoming Karnataka assembly elections. With the Congress making it a lot about Kannada and local pride, will the BJP choose Sankeshwar who is from the state or Chandrashekhar who is not?

    Many within the state BJP are pushing for the candidature of Sankeshwar. They feel that it would benefit them in the elections. Firstly he is a Lingayat and the BJP relies heavily on that vote bank. He is also an old hat in the BJP has been an MP when Atal Vajpayee was the Prime Minister. He also holds considerable sway in the areas around Hubbali.

    The final call would, however, be taken in Delhi after weighing in all considerations. There are several within the BJP who feel that Chandrashekhar would be better suited for the post. He is articulate in the Rajya Sabha. A BJP source says that it would not be right to term him as an outsider. He has raised a lot of issues relating to Karnataka and has been in the state for very long. He has a Kannada channel and newspaper. This, however, is the case of Sankeshwar too who has a Kannada newspaper and television channel.

    The source said that the case of Chandrashekhar should not be looked at only in the context of the Karnataka assembly elections. "The BJP has big plans for Kerala and with his candidature, a message could be sent out to that state also. Moreover, he also owns the top television channel in Kerala. The source, however, added that while many in the BJP are pushing for the candidature of Sankeshwar there are others who are mindful of the fact that he had quit the party once before and floated his own outfit. The final call will, however, be taken by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi", the source also added.

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