AAP fields women candidate against Mallikarjun Kharge in Gulbarga

B.T. Lalitha Naik, former Minister, is in the fray against political heavyweight and Railway Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge

LalithanaikGulbarga (GR): The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has sprung a surprise in the Gulbarga Lok Sabha (SC) constituency by fielding a relative outsider B.T.Lalitha Naik, former Minister, as its candidate against political heavyweight and Railway Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge.

With this, two candidates belonging to the Banjara community — Dr. Naik and BJP candidate and former Minister Revu Naik Belamagi — will test their luck against Mr.Kharge here.

The Janata Dal (Secular), however, is yet to announce its candidate for the seat. The name of State convener of the Dalit Sangharsh Samiti D.G. Sagar, who unsuccessfully contested the Assembly election in the Gulbarga Rural (SC) constituency in 2013, is on top in the list of probable JD(S) candidates. Sixty-nine-year-old Dr. Naik hails from Thangali tanda in Chikmagalur district and is now a Bangalore resident.

A former Minister in the erstwhile Janata Dal government, Dr. Naik started her political career as a member of the Upper House in 1986. She was elected to the Legislative Assembly from Deodurga in Raichur district in 1994.

For a brief period she was the president of the women’s wing of the JD(S) and also national executive member of the party. She, however, failed in her subsequent attempts to enter the Assembly from different constituencies.

Dr. Naik is a relatively new face to the voters of Gulbarga. Her candidature has come as a surprise even to AAP activists in the constituency.

Books to her credit

Dr. Naik has written at least 16 books, including a collection of children’s stories, dramas and novels. Considering her contributions to the fields of literature and social service, Kuvempu University, Shimoga, conferred an honorary doctorate on her in 2009-10.

Dr. Naik has also acted in films such as Zadero Pankheru (Forest Bird) in Banjara dialect, Priya-O-Priya and Ashanti; telefilm Ondu Hennina Kathe, and popular teleserial Mukta Mukta.