Ex-Karnataka CM Jagdish Shettar quits BJP over ticket denial

Shettar’s resignation comes close on the heels of senior BJP leader Laxman Savadi’s exit. Savadi is now in the Congress.

| Updated: 16 April, 2023 4:44 pm IST
Jagdeesh Shettar
Shettar has publicly expressed his anguish over the denial of BJP ticket from his current seat Hubballi-Dharwad Central.

NEW DELHI: In yet another blow to BJP in poll-bound Karnataka, powerful Lingayat leader and former CM Jagdish Shettar, who has been denied party ticket, announced his exit from the saffron camp on Sunday.

Shettar has publicly expressed his anguish over the denial of BJP ticket from his current seat Hubballi-Dharwad Central.

A six-time MLA, Shettar also tendered his resignation as an MLA to Karnataka Assembly Speaker, Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri in the presence of his supporters at Sirsi.

This is the second major blow to the BJP after former deputy chief minister Laxman Savadi resigned from the party and joined the Congress a few days back.

“Age can’t be a factor to deny a party ticket. Giving tickets to the younger generation is a mere excuse. If this is the case, then why have tickets been given to people who have crossed 70 years. I am just 67,” a visibly upset Shettar told the media.

Lingayat stalwart and former CM BS Yediyurappa called Shettar’s move as a “betrayal” and “unpardonable”.

“People of Karnataka will not forgive Jagadish Shettar. He was offered an ministerial berth at the Centre but a ticket to his family. But he did not respond. The party has given all opportunities possible to Jagadish Shettar and Laxman Savadi… This is unpardonable. Why is he joining Congress?” he said, adding that the BJP would welcome Shettar he is comes back.

The Congress was quick to extend an invitation to Shettar to join the party. Shettar, however, has yet to reveal his future move. “I will contest this election, for sure,” he told media persons.

“After going to Hubli, I will meet my well-wishers and decide the next course of action. I have not yet decided whether to join the Congress or JDS,” he said.

Calling his resignation as “unfortunate”, CM Bommai admitted that his exit would harm the party “a little”. “When a party has decided that some seniors have to give way to the younger generation, there will be a small impact on the party, and BJP is capable of overcoming it,” he added.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi arrived in Kolar to address the ‘Jai Bharath’ rally which was originally scheduled to take place on April 5, but was postponed a total of three times due to various reasons. Gandhi was disqualified as a Lok Sabha MP earlier this year for delivering a speech in the same district in 2019.

The Lingayat community, to which Shettar belongs, is a crucial vote bank in the state. The BJP has been trying to placate the community after the resignation of BS Yediyurappa as the chief minister.

The Congress, which lost power after the collapse of the Congress-JDS government in 2019, is looking to make a comeback in Karnataka.

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