Former Karnataka chief minister Jagadish Shettar quitting the BJP has created an uproar among party leaders, with the latest being criticism from BS Yediyurappa.
The Lingayat strongman on Sunday, 16 April, criticised Shettar for his decision to quit the saffron party after he was denied a ticket to contest the 10 May Assembly elections.
Yediyurappa said the people would not pardon Shettar for the move.
Noting that Shettar had served as the party’s state unit president, Yediyurappa — himself a former chief minister of Karnataka — asked, “What injustice have we done to Shettar? He has already decided to go to Congress. Let him go.”
The party’s central leadership suggested that he name a family member for the ticket, and also offered to make him a Rajya Sabha member and a Union minister, he said.
Yediyurappa said the party had not asked him to retire from politics.
He also said no power could stop the BJP from coming back to power in Karnataka. “We will come back to power with a clear majority”, he said.
The resignation of Shettar has pained and disturbed him, said Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai.
He told reporters on Sunday that Shettar had been a senior and important leader of this region.
He also said the BJP national president JP Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah had promised Shettar a big post at the Delhi level.
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‘High command’s decision’
Bommai said Shah spoke to Jagadish Shettar personally on Saturday. “The name of Shettar was on the list of the district-level core committee, but the denial of the ticket was the decision of the high command. The time has come to bring changes,” Bommai said.
He said the opportunity must be given from one generation to another generation, due to which Shettar had been denied the ticket.
“I am not going to answer all the questions raised by Shettar. It’s an attempt to make a new development. Shettar’s resignation from the party will impact the BJP, but damage control exercises will be made to minimise the impact,” he added.
Jagadish Shettar announced his resignation from the party on Saturday night. The senior Lingayat leader submitted his resignation as MLA to Legislative Assembly Speaker Visheshwara Hegde Kageri on Sunday afternoon.
He submitted his resignation to the Assembly Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri at Sirsi in the Uttara Kannada district.
Shettar’s announcement to quit his post and the party came right after BJP leaders, including Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, and Union ministers Pralhad Joshi and Dharmendra Pradhan, who is also the party’s in charge of Karnataka elections, called him at his residence on Saturday night to pacify him.
Shettar had been rebelling against the BJP ever since he got wind of the party replacing him in his constituency with a new face.
(With PTI inputs)