Ex-BJP MLA Raghupathi Bhat turns rebel, to contest council election independently in Karnataka

He was expecting an MLC ticket for the Karnataka South West Graduates' constituency but the party fielded Dr Dhananjaya Sarji.


Published May 14, 2024 | 4:11 PMUpdatedMay 14, 2024 | 4:11 PM

Raghupathi Bhat speaking during a function. (Facebook)

Striking a rebellious note, former BJP MLA from Udupi Raghupathi Bhat has announced his decision to contest the upcoming MLC elections on 3 June as an independent candidate, representing the South-West Graduates’ constituency.

Bhat has expressed his intent to stand as “a representative of party workers in the region”.

He had been sulking ever since the BJP denied him a ticket in the 2023 Assembly election and fielded Yashpal Suvarna who won the election.

Bhat had turned emotional in public in 2023 when the BJP did not field him but announced supporting Suvarna.

The rebel BJP leader was expecting an MLC ticket for the Karnataka South West Graduates’ constituency and had lobbied hard for it but the party decided to field Dr Dhananjaya Sarji.

Reflecting on his journey, Bhat on Monday, 13 May, highlighted his role in supporting the party candidate during the Assembly elections and securing a significant lead in votes.

Also Read: BJP announces candidates for five MLC seats in Karnataka, allots one to JD(S)

Expressed disappointment

The rebel leader expressed disappointment with the party’s decision to award the MLC ticket to Dhananjay Sarji, a recent entrant to the party, over deserving senior candidates, including himself.

He was expecting the support of 38,000 new voters whom he claimed he had previously enrolled.

While reaffirming his allegiance to the BJP, Bhat clarified that his decision to contest independently stemmed from his commitment to the welfare of teachers and graduates.

He acknowledged assurances from senior BJP leaders regarding his candidature but remained resolute in his stance.

With nominations set to be filed on May 16, Bhat asserted that he would not retract his decision despite potential consequences.

Emphasising his respect for the BJP flag and expressing confidence in his victory, he reiterated his dedication to supporting the party even if successful as an independent candidate.

Bhat concluded by expressing hope for reconciliation with the BJP in future elections, affirming his identity as a BJP leader and commitment to serving the interests of his constituents.

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