Bengaluru: Trouble is brewing in Karnataka’s ruling BJP from its loyal leaders and cadres for fielding 13 “defectors” to contest the December 5 bypolls after they joined the party on Thursday, a party leader admitted on Friday.
“Many cadres and supporters are upset for denying tickets to their leaders in at least 10 assembly seats despite being loyal and striving hard to bring the party back to power in the state,” the BJP leader told IANS on the condition of anonymity.
Of the 16 defectors from the Congress and Janata Dal-S (JD-S), the BJP rewarded 13 with tickets to contest the bypolls from the assembly segments they resigned and were subsequently disqualified by then Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar for defying their party whip and abstaining from the monsoon session in July.
The party leader said: “As the defectors were responsible for the fall of the previous JD-S-Congress coalition government on July 23 and facilitated our party to return to power, they have been given the tickets to contest in the bypolls, compensating them for sacrificing their assembly seats.”
With the BJP fielding Congress defector Srimanthagouda Patil from Kagwad in Belagavi district, its senior leader Raju Kage joined the Congress on Thursday to contest in the bypolls on its ticket although he lost to Patil in the May 2018 Assembly elections on a BJP ticket.
“A 4-time legislator from Kagwad, the BJP betrayed Kage by giving ticket to defector Patil as a reward for resigning from the seat. Hence, the former joined our party to teach a befitting lesson to the ruling party and Patil who ditched our party after winning on our ticket,” Congress spokesman Ravi Gowda told IANS.
Similarly, cadres and supporters of Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi are upset with the party leadership for denying him a ticket to contest from Athani in Belagavi where he lost to Congress defector Mahesh Kumatalli in the May 2018 assembly elections.
“Though Savadi is not a member of the either house of legislature, he was made Deputy Chief Minister in August. He has to be elected to the assembly or nominated to the council in six months after assuming office to remain in the cabinet. With no vacancy in the council till January to nominate him, he will be able to continue in office only if a ruling party member resigns to make way for him,” the BJP source said.
Likewise, BJP rebel Sharath Bache Gowda is contesting from Hoskote in Bengaluru North as an Independent against M.T.B. Nagaraj, who resigned from the seat as a Congress legislator and joined the BJP and contesting on its lotus symbol.
Gowda is the son of BJP’s Lok Sabha member Bache Gowda, who was a minister in the first BJP government in the southern state (2008-13).
Incidentally, the JD-S has decided to support him in Hoskote and campaign for him by not fielding anyone against veteran Nagaraj, one of the richest candidates in the state.
Though former lawmaker R. Shankar also joined the BJP after resigning from Ranebennur in Haveri district as regional outfit KPJP’s legislator, the ruling party has decided to give its ticket to Arunkumar Pujar to contest against K.B. Koliwad of the Congress, who lost to Shankar in the May 2018 assembly elections.
“As Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has promised to make me an MLC (Member of the Legislative Council) and a minister in the next cabinet expansion, I have decided to campaign for Pujar against Koliwad whom I defeated in the assembly elections in May 2018,” Shankar told reporters here.