Bengaluru, Apr 9 (PTI) Most of the party-hoppers, who joined the BJP ahead of the May 12 assembly polls in Karnataka, have made it to the party’s first list of candidates.

In the list of 72 candidates for the high-stakes contest to the 224-member Assembly that was released last night, at least 11 recently joined the BJP, including some who had deserted it earlier.

Those who have made it to the list include P Rajeev (Kudachi), A S Patil Nadahalli (Muddebihal), Basavanagouda Patil Yatnal (Bijapur City), Malikayya Guttedar (Afzalpur), Mallikarjun Khuba (Basavakalyana) and Dr Shivaraj Patil (Raichur).

The others are: Manappa Vajjal (Lingsugur), Gulihatti D Shekhar (Hosadurga), Haladi Srinivasa Setty (Kundapura), Gaviyappa (Vijayanagara) and C P Yogishwar (Chennapatna).

Most of them are sitting legislators and a few of them also served as ministers in the past.

Guttedar, a six-time MLA and OBC leader, had yesterday joined the party, hours before the first list was announced.

He had recently quit the ruling Congress.

The first list of the BJP is largely seen as a safe bet for the party as most of them are sitting MLAs, barring a few.

BJP’s chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa and other party veterans like Jagadish Shettar and K S Eswarappa have also made it to the first list.

They will be contesting from Shikaripura, Hubli Dharwad Central and Shivamogga respectively.

In what is seen as a surprise move, Lok Sabha member B Sriramulu, a close confidant of mining baron G Janardhan Reddy, has been given a ticket to contest from Molkalmuru seat in Chitradurga district, moving him out of Ballari district, the Reddy stronghold.

Sriramulu and Yeddyurappa are the only two sitting MPs who have made it to the first list.

Of the 72 candidates in the first list, three are women – Shahshikala Jolle (Nippani), Roopali Naik (Karwar) and Poornima Srinivas (Hiriyur).

Hoping to come back to power after a gap of five years, the BJP has announced Yeddyurappa as its chief ministerial candidate, with a target of winning 150 out of 224 assembly seats.

Unlike in 2013, when the BJP was split into factions, with Yeddyurappa forming KJP and B Sriramulu floating BSR Congress, in this election they are all fighting as a unified force.

Yeddyurappa was earlier forced to resign as Chief Minister in 2011 over graft charges, following which he quit the party to form his own outfit, Karnataka Janata Party, which failed to make a mark except to cause damage to BJP in the 2013 polls.

He returned to the BJP following the announcement of Narendra Modi as party’s prime ministerial candidate ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

While JD(S) has already released the candidates list for 126 constituencies, the Congress is expected to come out with its nominees for all the 224 assembly seats in the state by April 15.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.