BJP candidate list for Lok Sabha polls in Karnataka opens floodgate of dissent

Following the absence of his son's name in the list, Eshwarappa came down heavily on former chief minister BS Yediyurappa and his family. 

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published Mar 14, 2024 | 4:27 PMUpdatedMar 14, 2024 | 6:29 PM

Karnataka BJP KS Eshwarappa BS Yediyurappa Haveri Gadag Dharwad Mysuru Lok Sabha Polls

Several BJP leaders in Karnataka have openly expressed dissent regarding the party’s second list of candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, noting their absence.

Within hours after the list was released, several leaders including former deputy chief minister KS Eshwarappa openly questioned the supremacy of Yediyurappa’s family in the party. He was upset after the party considered former chief minister Basavaraj Bommai over his son Kantesh for the Haveri-Gadag seat.

The BJP high command released the second list of candidates on Wednesday, 13 March. In the list, the party announced candidates for 20 constituencies in Karnataka for the parliament elections, where 10 sitting MPs have been replaced.

Eshwarappa also hinted at contesting as an independent candidate from Shimoga, considering the opinion of his supporters, and seers and pontiffs of various mutts.

Similarly, the dissent has also exploded in Udupi-Chikmagalur, Mysuru, Bangalore North, Dharwad, Vijayapura, Davanagere, Bidar and Tumakuru seats. Party workers in Bangalore North seat staged protest with slogans of “Shobha akka go back” against Karandlaje.

Bommai, Union Ministers Pralhad Joshi, Shobha Karandlaje and Bhagwanth Khuba, former deputy chief ministers B Sriramulu, and former minister V Somanna are some of the prominent leaders who have been declared as candidates.

As anticipated, BJP preferred Mysuru royal scion Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar over two-time MP Pratap Simha.

The saffron party also moved Union Minister Shobha Karandlaje from Udupi-Chikmagalur seat to Bangalore North, following the opposition from party workers.

Also Read: BJP drops Nalin Kateel, Pratap Simha; replaces 10 MPs in candidate list

Eshwarappa blames BSY

Following the absence of his son’s name in the list, Eshwarappa came down heavily on former chief minister BS Yediyurappa and his family.

Eshwarappa and his son Kantesh met Yediyurappa at his residence recently and requested a ticket from the Haveri-Gadag seat. In response, Yediyurappa had assured him of taking up the matter before the high command and ensuring Kantesh the ticket.

However, when the party released the second list, Kantesh’s name was absent. Eshwarappa was not only stunned but also furious at Yediyurappa and his family.

Eshwarappa told reporters on Wednesday night: “When my son Kantesh and I met Yediyurappa at his residence seeking a ticket for the Haveri-Gadag Lok Sabha seat, he had assured me that he will not only get a ticket for my son but also campaign for him to ensure his victory.”

“Now, Yediyurappa did not stand on his word. He meted out injustice to me. Hence, I am getting pressure from my supporters and followers to contest against Yediyurappa’s son (incumbent MP BY Raghavendra) from Shimoga,” Eshwarappa said hinting at an independent candidacy from the Shimoga constituency.

Highlighting various incidents, Ehswarappa recalled: “Basavaraj Bommai had clearly said in the state election committee meeting, where I was also present, that his health was not well and he would not be contesting election at any cost as he has been an MLA and was the chief minister. He had then proposed my son’s name for the Haveri seat.”

“I am highlighting this because loyal party workers like (CT) Ravi, (Nalin Kumar) Kateel and I are being sidelined by Yediyurappa, as opinionated by several people. Hence, I won’t disclose my decision now. After meeting with my followers and chiefs of all the communities, I will take the final call on 15 March,” he added.

Also Read: Kumaraswamy says BJP allocated 3 seats to JD(S) in Karnataka

Questions Yediyurappa

When asked whether he should have gone to Delhi with Yediyurappa, he pointed out: “It appeared in the media that Yediyurappa was relentlessly demanding tickets for Basavaraj Bommai and Shobha Karandlaje. Shobha did not go to Delhi (for a ticket).”

“As per the wishes and directives of the central leaders, who had asked me to withdraw from electoral politics, I did not contest in the Assembly elections. We ensured the victory of a common party worker from the segment.”

“Considering these efforts, BJP national general secretary BL Santosh and PM Narendra Modi spoke with me and applauded my efforts and also stated that ‘I am a disciplined soldier’. Several leaders had come to my home and said that my son and I have a bright future ahead,” added the former deputy chief minister.

He further said: “Now, because of the relentless attitude of Yediyurappa, several people have been meted out with injustice. Mysuru’s popular leader Pratap Simha, CT Ravi, Sadananda Gowda, Nalin Kumar Kateel have all been meted out injustice.”

Also Read: BS Yediyurappa welcomes Deve Gowda’s son-in-law Dr CN Manjunath to BJP

‘Loyal party workers being sidelined’

When questioned whether holding followers’ meetings would lead to an anti-party activity, he said: “I am not holding a meeting to take an alternative decision. Several party leaders are saying that sincere party workers are being sidelined.”

“This appears like they (Yediyurappa’s family) are strangling their mother (party) for their selfishness,” reiterated the BJP senior leader.

When asked whether this move would damage the party’s prospects, he said: “People are suffering pain. Yediyurappa is meting out injustice to the loyal party workers and leaders. People are expressing their pain. I should be the voice of such people.”

“Even Karnataka in-charge for Lok Sabha Radha Mohandas Agarwal had telephoned and promised to honour the MLC ticket in the upcoming graduates constituency elections for my son,” Eshwarappa revealed the counteroffer from high command.

Eshwarappa denied that there were some differences between him and Yediyurappa, he said: “We are friends and used to have food on the same plate. I have told him about his mistakes and asked him not to repeat them.”

“He went to KJP. But, I did not go. I am loyal to this party because of the culture offered by this organisation. I did not rally behind any person. He might have been upset,” highlighted Eshwarappa.

“If I contest as an independent candidate, the central leaders will understand at least why the sincere party worker fought in the polls. Everyone is questioning why the party has been entrusted to one family. Are they the only leaders? Are they the only Lingayat leaders? Aren’t there any other Lingayat leaders?” Eshwarappa questioned and reiterated that several people are upset about this.

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Dissent in other constituencies

The dissent that emerged in the saffron party after the release of the second list of candidates is not limited to Shimoga and Haveri-Gadag constituencies but also in several other seats including Dharwad and Koppal.

Senior Lingayat leader and former chief minister Jagadish Shettar, who was seeking a ticket either for Dharwad or Haveri-Gadag seat, was shocked when the party denied him the ticket, yet again.

It is said that he is in talks with the high command for a ticket to contest from the Belagavi seat.

It may be noted that he had quit the BJP when he was denied a ticket in the 2023 state Assembly polls.

He lost the Hubballi-Dharwad Central seat on the Congress ticket. However, he was then made MLC by the grand old party.

Ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, he quit the Congress and returned to the BJP. Since then, he has been hopeful about getting a ticket either from Dharwad or Haveri.

Shettar told reporters in Hubballi: “I had expressed my willingness to contest from Haveri and Dharwad before the high command. The tickets have been allotted after considering various reasons. I am not going to question it.”

“The deliberations are underway for the Belagavi seat. The high command is discussing it with me. We will come to a decision by Thursday evening ,” stated the former chief minister.

In the Koppal constituency, after the party denied a ticket to sitting MP Karadi Sanganna. Following that, he summoned a meeting of his supporters to decide his future in politics. However, he clarified that he would support Modi.

In Davanagere, former MLA MP Renukacharaya, who was an aspirant, is said to have openly expressed dissent over the party allotting the ticket to the incumbent MP GM Siddeshwar’s wife Gayatri Siddeshwar.

In Tumakuru, former minister JC Madhuswamy has reportedly objected to giving tickets to senior Lingayat leader V Somanna.

(Edited by Muhammed Fazil)