Public pressure including protests by Kannada groups against the renomination of Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu to the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka, seems to have worked. The BJP Central Election Committee has decided to field Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Nirmala Sitharaman in his place in the biennial election to the Upper House on June 11.
In fact, social media has been witnessing a campaign against Mr Naidu titled ‘Venkaiah Sakaiah’ with several organisations opposing his candidature claiming he had not spoken about Karnataka affairs in the Upper House in the last 18 years. Mr Naidu tried to defend himself last week when he was in Bengaluru for a party event saying he had ensured that the IT City was in the reckoning for a slot in the Smart City list. But it did not work with the party deciding to make Venkaiah contest from Rajasthan.
According to sources, Ms Sitharaman has a Karnataka connection as her husband is from the state and has stayed here for some time. State leaders have described her as Karnatakada sose because of this. She is expected to arrive on Monday to file her papers.
The election committee also cleared former minister, Mr V. Somanna for the Legislative Council polls. Though BJP state president, Mr B.S. Yeddyurappa had opposed Somanna's candidature. the Lingayat leader managed to garner the support of heavyweights like Union Fertilizer and Chemicals Minister Ananth Kumar, Union Minister for Law D.V. Sadananda Gowda and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Jagadish Shettar.