Legislators who helped the BJP topple Karnataka's Congress-Janata Dal Secular (JDS) coalition government last year have been rewarded by the party while picking candidates for the elections to seven seats of the state legislative council due on June 29.
The four names announced by the BJP as candidates are Prathap Simha Nayak, MTB Nagaraj, R Shankar and Sunil Valyapure.
MTB Nagaraj, formerly with the Congress, is an enormously wealthy businessman who contested and lost bypolls to the Hoskote seat he had held before his disqualification as MLA. He came to national attention last June when he promised Congress leaders that he would stay loyal to the party - and then within hours hopped onto a chartered flight that took him to join other rebel MLAs in Mumbai.
R Shankar was an independent who went back and forth in his loyalties, finally withdrawing his support from the coalition government soon after it has made him a minister. He later joined the BJP.
Another prominent politician who switched loyalties to the BJP, former Janata Dal Secular state president, H Vishwanath, was not chosen as a candidate.
The Congress has chosen B K Hariprasad and Naseer Ahmed as candidates.
Earlier this February, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had allotted ministerial posts to 10 former Congress and JDS MLAs, largely fulfilling his government's promise of rewarding those who had helped the BJP grapple its way back to power in the state.
Last November, the Supreme Court had confirmed the disqualification of 17 Karnataka MLAs whose revolt triggered the collapse of the Janata Dal Secular-Congress government and the subsequent takeover by the BS Yediyurappa-led BJP. But the court cancelled the Speaker's decision to bar the rebel MLAs from contesting polls till 2023.