“Won’t Go Around With Begging Bowl”: Exits From BJP After Karnataka List
BENGALURU: With the BJP in Karnataka under increasing pressure, several leaders are issuing threats after the party announced its first list of candidates for next month’s polls.
Former BJP MLA Thottapagowda Patil Naribol has announced his resignation after senior leader Laxman Sawadi quit the party this morning. Minister S Angara has threatened to resign. All three have been fielded as candidates.
“I have taken my decision. I am not a beggar. I am a self-respecting politician. I am not influenced by anyone,” said Laxman Sawadi.
Reports suggest that he is in talks with the Congress and will soon switch. But Karnataka Congress President DK Sivakumar told reporters: He is not in touch with me, he is not talking to me.
Laxman Sawadi, a loyalist of former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa and one of the state’s most powerful Lingayat leaders, is known for his organizational skills.
In the 2018 elections, he lost to Congress candidate Mahesh Kumathahalli from Athani constituency.
A year later, when mass defections from the Congress-Janata Dal secular government enabled a BJP coup, Laxman Sawadi was rewarded for his role despite causing controversy in 2012 after he was caught watching pornography in the assembly.
Mahesh Kumadahalli, one of those who left, is contesting from Athani constituency this time on behalf of BJP. Some other defectors have been named as candidates at the expense of sitting MLAs.
Dissatisfaction is growing among the BJP cadres over the selection of candidates.
One of those left out of the first list, former chief minister Jagadish Shettar left for Delhi after pleading with the leadership. While reports suggested he might return disappointed, Mr Yeddyurappa thought otherwise.
“99% Jagadish Shettar will be given election ticket,” Mr Yeddyurappa said, according to news agency ANI.
Mr Shetter has threatened to run one way or the other and has not ruled out running as an independent.
Even before the list was announced, another senior leader, KS Eshwarappa, announced his retirement from electoral politics. Sources say there have been hints that he will be fired.
The BJP released the first list of 189 candidates for the Karnataka elections last night. Many MLAs have been sacked and Congress elected. 52 new candidates are on the list.
The party held several meetings before finally announcing its first candidates for the state’s 224 assembly constituencies.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to sources, urged the party to get rid of “tainted, decadent politics”. He clarified that the BJP’s candidates should be “objective-proof” and cannot repeat past lists where people could question the party’s promises.