Karnataka assembly poll: Congress fields ‘star campaigner’ Shettar

Former CM, who is also a powerful Lingayat leader, will contest upcoming state assembly election from Hubli-Dharwad Central

NEW DELHI | Updated: 19 April, 2023 6:34 pm IST
Jagadish Shettar has already begun his preparation

The Congress has fielded former Karnataka chief minister Jagadish Shettar from the Hubli-Dharwad Central seat. The move comes just days after he quit the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and joined Congress.

The Congress also announced Shettar, who is one of the most powerful Lingayat leaders in Karnataka, as one of the 40-star campaigners, along with party president Mallikarjun Kharge and former party presidents Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

Shettar, who quit the BJP on Sunday after being denied ticket to contest the election, joined the Congress on Monday in the presence of Kharge, Karnataka Congress in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala, state unit chief DK Shivakumar and former CM Siddaramaiah.

The Congress announced the candidature of Shettar on Tuesday in its fourth candidate list. Till now, Congress has announced 216 candidates for the 224-member state assembly.

Shettar was asked by the 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 said that he received a call from Delhi, where a senior party official 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,” Shettar had said.

Shettar, an influential leader among the politically powerful Lingayat community, enjoys clout over 20 to 25 assembly seats in Karnataka.

Congress also made Shettar one of its star campaigners for Karnataka.

Besides Kharge, the party has also named Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel, Himachal Pradesh CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, IYC chief Srinivas BV, Divya Spandana, former cricketer Mohammad Azaharuddin, actor turned politician Raj Babbar, Shivakumar, Siddaramaiah, HB Patil, Surjewala, KC Venugopal, Syed Naseer Hussain, Imran Pratapgarhi, Kanhaiya Kumar and others as their star campaigners for the election.

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