Karnataka Assembly elections: Heavyweight candidates in fray
BS Yeddyurappa, the man who led BJP to form its first government in the state, will contest under the banner of his new outfit Karnataka Janata Party from Shikaripura in Shimoga district. He quit BJP last year after he was forced to step down as the chief minister in 2011 on corruption charges. Backed by the powerful Lingayat community, Mr Yeddyurappa is expected to snatch a few seats from his former party and could even play the role of a kingmaker.
Jagadish Shettar, the incumbent chief minister, is expecting re-election from Hubli-Dharwad central in north Karnataka. The 58-year-old Lingayat leader's 10-month stint has been marked by rebellion within the BJP, which saw several prominent leaders defecting to Mr Yeddyurappa's new party KJP. His biggest challenge will be to prevent erosion in BJP's strong Lingayat base in the southern state.
Janata Dal Secular chief and former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy will contest from Ramanagaram in south Karnataka. His party hopes to gain big as both Congress and BJP are fighting corruption charges. Son of former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, Mr Kumaraswamy has been a Kannada film producer and distributor.
Congress' chief ministerial hope Mr Siddaramaiah will contest from Varuna in Mysore district in south Karnataka. He has been the Leader of Opposition in the 224-member state assembly.
Deputy Chief Minister KS Eshwarappa, who is the former state BJP chief, will look for a re-election from Shimoga in north-central Karnataka. The BJP candidate has recently been in trouble for making an allegedly provocative speech during a campaign in Belgaum.
Shobha Karandlaje, a close aide of former chief minister and KJP chief Mr Yeddyurappa , will contest from Rajajinagar in Bangalore. The former minister, who had quit BJP to join Mr Yeddyurappa's new party, will be up against BJP's S Suresh Kumar.