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Karnataka: Denied Tickets, Disgruntled MLAs to Go Independent, Veterans Quit

Karnataka Elections 2023

All is not well in the BJP Karnataka unit after the party released the much-awaited lists of candidates on April 11 and April 12, which saw a total of 17 sitting MLAs being denied the ticket, for the Karnataka assembly elections next month.

Some of the names of veteran leaders missing from the lists are former Karnataka chief minister Jagadish Shettar, former deputy chief minister KS Eshwarappa, who had said he will step down to pave way for others, MLA Nehru Olekar and MP Kumaraswamy, former minister SA Ravindranath, MP Kumaraswamy and K Raghupathi Bhat.

There are reports that the BJP lists’ have created a row in the party where many sitting MLAs and leaders are threatening to contest the May 10 elections as independents, while some veterans such as Shettar have publicly indicated rebellion after he was asked to make way for others.

Although latest reports suggest that Shettar is “hopeful” that he will be given the ticket after he pressed his demand to BJP national president JP Nadda in Delhi.

But what are the other BJP leaders planning to do to salvage the situation?

KS Eshwarappa, who is the former deputy CM, resigned before the upcoming state polls. Both him and Yediyurappa built the party in the state and then moved into oblivion. Eshwarappa is the fourth BJP legislator to announce retirement before the May 10 elections after BS Yediyurappa, Haladi Srinivas Shetty and SA Ravindranath. There are reports that several BJP leaders from Shivamogga district have tendered their resignation in support of Eshwarappa.

MP Kumaraswamy, who is the MLA from Mudigere, has announced his resignation from the party, expressing his displeasure for not being on the BJP’s list of candidates. Deepak Doddaiah will contest from Mudigere replacing Kumaraswamy. The three-time MLA, Kumaraswamy hit out at national general secretary CT Ravi for not being nominated, and said he will plan his next move after discussing with his supporters and people of his constituency. There are speculations that the leader from the SC community will join the JD-S or contest as an independent.

Jagadish Shettar, the former Karnataka chief minister, who was dropped from the BJP list, is “hopeful” to get a ticket after he was summoned to Delhi by party leadership. BS Yediyurappa had earlier said “99%” Shettar will be given the ticket. Shettar had earlier told the media that his popularity is “good” and he has not lost a single election. So, there is no reason to deny him the ticket. The Lingayat leader said he will contest from Hubli Dharwad Central any which way. The BJP has chosen new face Kranti Kiran to contest from Hubli Dharwad East and Arvind Bellad from Hubli Dharwad West.

K Raghupathi Bhat, a three-time MLA from Udupi, told media had the BJP leadership told him six months ago that he cannot be fielded due to caste considerations, he would have followed the path of Eshwarappa, who announced retirement from electoral politics. Bhat has been replaced by Yashpal Suvarna, the leader of the fishermen community. “I am still in a state of shock and haven’t taken any decision yet,” Bhat said.

Nehru Olekar, the Haveri sitting MLA was denied a ticket and was replaced by Gavisidappa Dyamannavar. Olekar has said he would resign from the BJP’s primary membership. The MLA lashed out at CM Basavaraj Bommai for practising “hate politics” and alleged that he cheated the party. He pointed out that six constituencies were being sacrificed for personal interest. Olekar along with his two sons and six associates were convicted for corruption in February.

Laxman Savadi, is a three-time MLA from Athani, who was denied a ticket from the seat that he lost in 2018. He was one of the three deputy CMs in the Yediyurappa government in 2019. The BJP has instead given MLA Mahesh Kumathalli, who was among defectors who helped the party bring down the Congress-JD(S) coalition. Savadi had announced his resignation from the party primary membership and also as MLC. He told media that he is a “self-respecting politician” and that he would not go around with a “begging bowl”.

R Shankar resigned from his post as MLA after the BJP denied him ticket from Ranebennur constituency. He has announced to contest as an independent candidate. The BJP has fielded MLA Arun Kumar from the constituency. After the first list of candidates was announced, Shankar took on to the BJP and said the party “cheated all of us” after it was brought to power by the Congress-JDS rebels.

Madalu Virupaksappa, the sitting MLA of Channagiri, was snubbed by the BJP after he was arrested for accepting bribe of Rs 40 lakh in March. The party has decided to field Shiv Kumar from the constituency. Virupaksappa is in jail on charges of corruption.

S Angara, Karnataka minister and six-time MLA has announced retirement from politics after being denied a ticket. The minister from Dakshina Kannada’s Sullia constituency alleged some leaders conspired against him. Bhagirathi Murulya has been nominated as official candidate of the BJP for the upcoming polls.

Srinivas Prasad, former Union minister and Chamarajanagar MP, announced retirement from active politics after his term ends in 2024. He was campaigning for party candidate CS Niranjan Kumar in Gundlupet.

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