Ex-CM Shettar becomes 2nd senior BJP leader to join Congress

Jagadish Shettar is the second powerful Lingayat figure in to ditch BJP for Congress in Karnataka within a week.

| Updated: 17 April, 2023 11:00 am IST
Lingayat leader Jagadish Shettar joins Congress in presence of party president Mallikarjun Kharge in Bengaluru on Monday morning.

Bengaluru: A day after he relinquished membership of the BJP & the Karnataka Assembly, former chief minister and influential figure Jagadish Shettar joined Congress in Bengaluru on Monday.

Jagadish was unhappy with BJP leadership over denial of the party ticket for next month’s state polls from his Hubli-Dharwad Central constituency. He has become the second prominent BJP leader to switch sides since last week after former deputy CM Laxman Savadi, whom Congress has now fielded from Athani Assembly seat.

Shettar met with senior Congress leaders like state Congress in-charge and general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala, state unit chief DK Shivakumar and former CM Siddaraimah in Bengaluru late on Sunday night.

He joined the party in presence of Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, party general secretary KC Venugopal, state unit chief Shivakumar, ex-CM Siddaramaiah and in-charge Surjewala at the state party office.

Soon after the joining, Surjewala tweeted, “A new chapter, a new history, a new beginning…. Change is here, Congress is here.”

Shettar was asked by BJP leadership not to contest the May 10 polls. In exchange, he was offered a ministerial berth in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet and a party ticket for a family member. However, Shettar turned down the offer and announced to contest from Hubli-Dharwad Central one way or the other.

Last week, Shettar told a press conference that he received a call from Delhi where a senior party functionary asked him to drop his candidature to make way for young people. He said this was “not acceptable” to him.

“I am not the kind of person who is adamant and stubborn, but this time I am being stubborn because the party has humiliated me,” he said.

An influential leader among the politically powerful Lingayat community, Shettar enjoys clout on 20 to 25 Assembly seats in Karnataka.

Counting of votes for the 224 member Legislative Assembly will take place on May 13.

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