The BJP has re-nominated all its sitting MPs in Karnataka as the party Thursday released its first list of 21 candidates for the Lok Sabha polls in the state.
Karnataka is the only southern state where the BJP has a strong presence, with 16 parliamentarians currently out of the state's 28 Lok Sabha seats. The upcoming election, however, will see straight fights in all the constituencies as the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) have entered into a seat-sharing pact. The Congress will contest 20 seats while the JD(S) will put up candidates for the remaining 8 seats.
While union ministers D V Sadananda Gowda, Ananthkumar Hegde and Ramesh Jigajinagi will contest from Bangalore North, Uttara Kannada and Bijapur respectively, other prominent BJP leaders such as Shoba Karandlaje, Pratap Simha and Nalin Kumar Kateel will defend their seats at Udupi-Chikmagalur, Mysore and Dakshina Kannada.
Meanwhile, two former Congressmen -- Dr Umesh Jadhav and A Manju -- who recently joined the BJP have been given party tickets. Jadhav is the candidate in Gulbarga where he will take on Leader of Opposition Mallikarjuna Kharge. In Hassan, A Manju, will likely face H D Deve Gowda's grandson Prajwal Revanna.
Significant among the six seats that the BJP is yet to decide on is Bangalore South which was represented by the late H N Ananth Kumar. His widow Tejaswini Ananth Kumar is tipped to be the candidate from the constituency which her husband had held for five consecutive terms.
The BJP's first list has also not named a candidate for Mandya where a high-profile contest between Sumalatha (as an Independent candidate) and Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy's son Nikhil Gowda is on the cards.
Karnataka goes to elections in two phases on April 18 and April 23.