Karnataka bypolls: 2 BJP ticket aspirants knock on Congress doors
Disgruntled BJP leaders say that they have nurtured their respective constituencies for long, but the BJP is now planning to reward the disqualified lawmakers with party tickets should the court verdict go in their favour. The Supreme Court will p...
Even as the BJP is waiting for the Supreme Court ruling in the case of 17 disqualified MLAs, scheduled for Wednesday, some of its disgruntled leaders are showing signs of a revolt. Their grouse is that they have nurtured their respective constituencies for long, but the BJP is now planning to reward the disqualified lawmakers with party tickets should the court verdict go in their favour.
At least two of them have approached Congress leaders including Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar, offering to contest on a Congress ticket in the changed political scenario. Raju Kage, a senior BJP leader from Kagawad and Ashok Pujari from Gokak, both in Belagavi district, may switch loyalties to the Congress. In Hosakote, Sharath Bache Gowda, a young BJP ticket aspirant, is in no mood to pave way for MTB Nagaraj, who won on a Congress ticket in 2018 but was disqualified for alleged anti-party activities.
Deputy chief minister CN Ashwath Narayan said in Chikmagalur that the party would persuade Gowda to obey the party’s decision. At the party’s office, minister CT Ravi, in response to a question on Kage, said they cannot stop those who want to leave the party. They will only ruin themselves, he added.
Kage, who had previously contested from Kagawad and lost, is seeking the BJP ticket again.
Pujari, who too lost the elections earlier, wants to contest from Gokak, while the BJP is keen to reward Ramesh Jarkiholi, the senior leader who quit the Congress and led the rebellion against the previous Janata Dal (S)-Congress regime.
A Congress leader told ET: “Of the 15 constituencies, the party is weak in a couple of seats where we do not have suitable candidates. Therefore, we are open to the idea of visible faces from the BJP joining us.” The Congress has already announced candidates for eight of the 15 seats. Election of MLAs in two more constituencies is a subject matter of court litigation.
The Congress leader, however, said the decision to pit Pujari from Gokak against Ramesh Jarkiholi would largely depend on the party MLA and Jarkiholi’s younger brother, Satish.
“If Satish agrees, then we may go ahead with Pujari,” he added.
The BJP, which may face trouble if the rebellion intensifies, has remained largely quiet on the issue. “The party has not directly spoken to the ticket aspirants. We will wait till November 13 for the Supreme Court judgement. The state core committee will meet and discuss on candidate selection only after that,” state BJP spokesperson N Ravi Kumar said.