Karnataka: Mega trouble within BJP, 9 revolt amid ticket denials

One senior BJP leader quit after being denied tickets, another is on the verge of quitting, while seven others are mulling their options

NEW DELHI | Updated: 12 April, 2023 8:09 pm IST
While Laxman Savadi had quit BJP and R Shankar is on the verge of quitting

The announcement of the first list of candidates for the Karnataka assembly election appeared to have opened Pandora’s box for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Several senior leaders, former CMs, Deputy CMs and prominent leaders seemed to be unhappy with the party’s decision, with former deputy CM Laxman Savadi having already quit the party.

The BJP released its first list of candidates late on Tuesday evening, featuring 189 candidates, of whom 52 are contesting for the first time. Among the new candidates are 32 from Other Backward Classes (OBC), 20 from Scheduled Castes (SC), and 16 from Scheduled Tribes (ST) communities.

The New Indian looks at BJP’s nine senior leaders, one of whom had already left the party, are unhappy with the parliamentary board’s decision to drop their names.

1. Laxman Savadi: Senior leader and former deputy chief minister Laxman Savadi was the first to quit the party. It is also being speculated that Savadi must have preempted his dropping as he is said to be in talks with Congress to make a switch.

“I have certainly made a decision. I have decided to resign from the primary membership of the party,” Savadi said on Wednesday, April 12.

A three-time MLA from Athani, Savadi’s name was missing from the first list when it was announced late last evening.

Incidentally, the man who was given the ticket to fight from Athani is none other than former Congress leader Mahesh Kumathahalli, who had beaten Savadi in the 2018 assembly election.

Savadi is considered a loyalist of former CM BS Yediyurappa. He is also one of the most powerful Lingayat leaders in the state and is known for his organisational skills.

Savadi was also caught in the infamous video clip controversy, where he was seen watching porn along with fellow minister CC Patil inside the assembly.

2. R Shankar: The former minister resigned as MLC after he missed the bus for the Ranebennur Assembly constituency. It is learned that Shankar is upset after the BJP decided to give the ticket to MLA Arun Kumar from the constituency.

Interestingly, commercial tax officials conducted a raid at the residence office of the former minister in the Haveri district last month. A huge cache of items, including more than 6,000 saris, 9,000 school and college bags and plates and household items worth ₹20-30 lakh, were seized. It is speculated that goodies were meant to be distributed to voters.

3. Jagdish Shettar: The former CM is one of the senior leaders who was denied a ticket. Shettar is the sitting MLA from Hubli-Dharwad Central, where he defeated Congress candidate Dr Mahesh Nalwad by a margin of 21,306 votes in the 2018 assembly election.

A miffed Shettar had said that he would contest at any cost and had asked the party to reconsider its decision. He met with BJP national president JP Nadda in Delhi today to press his demand to let him contest the election.

After the meeting with Nadda, Shettar said he was “hopeful” of getting a ticket. He reiterated that he will contest the election by any means, indicating that he is ready to contest as an independent if the BJP does not pay heed to his demands.

4. Ramappa Sobeppa Lamani: Lamani is the sitting MLA from the Shirahatti assembly seat. As the saying goes, Shirahatti has a habit of picking which party will win the election in the state. Surely, the BJP is leaving nothing to chance.

5. Raghupathi Bhat: Bhat could not hide his emotions as he broke into tears after missing out on the ticket for Udupi.

He said that he was highly disappointed with the way the party handled him. Udupi MLA said that he is shocked and needs some time to come out of it and decide on the future course of action.

While caste politics played a big role in Bhat missing out on a ticket, the BJP chose Yashpal Suvarna, who called hijabi-clad schoolgirls ‘terrorists’, as its candidate from Udupi.

6. S Angara: After being denied a ticket to contest from Sullia in Dakshina Kannada district, Karnataka’s Minister for Fisheries, Ports and Inland Water Transport will not campaign for the party in the Assembly elections and will retire from all political activities. “When the party did not have confidence in me, there was no need for me to continue in politics,” he said.

7. Anil Benake: The caste factor played a crucial role once again as the BJP decided to drop Belagavi North MLA Anil Benake, a Maratha, in favour of Ravi Patil, a Panchamasali Lingayat leader.

While Benake’s supporters created a scene in the city, it has also been learned that Benake fared poorly on two of the BJP’s internal surveys.

8. Mahadevappa Yadawad: It was a similar scene at Ramdurg constituency in Belagavi, where the BJP preferred newcomer Chikka Revana.

9. Goolihatti Shekhar: Hosadurga MLA has a habit of embarrassing Basavaraj Bommai’s state government by alleging corruption in various government departments, especially Visvesvaraya Jala Nigam Limited.

Surely he had riled a section of BJP leaders who opposed his candidature. He was replaced by S Lingamurthy in the upcoming election.

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