Annoyed with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) refusing to give him a ticket from his incumbent seat, former Karnataka chief minister Jagadish Shettar announced his resignation from the party on the night of Saturday, 15 April.
The senior Lingayat leader told reporters late at night that he would submit his resignation as MLA to Legislative Assembly Speaker Visheshwara Hegde Kageri on Sunday afternoon.
A miffed Shettar also announced that he would quit the BJP’s primary membership.
He said he had now taken it as a challenge to contest from his Hubballi-Dharwad Central constituency.
“I am not the kind of person to be adamant, but this time I am being stubborn because the party has humiliated me. They don’t understand what Shettar is. The way they are ignoring me has hurt me. So, I won’t let it go and I will take it up as a challenge,” an emotional Shettar told reporters even as supporters outside his residence in Hubballi raised slogans hailing him.
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.
Anticipating that the party was preparing to deny him a ticket, Shettar had been publicly expressing his disappointment for a week now.
“I have always said that I will contest this election and since I am hurt today, I am resigning from my MLA post. I will go to Sirsi tomorrow to meet the Speaker and submit my resignation,” he told reporters on Saturday.
“Naturally, with a heavy heart, I will quit the party that I have built from scratch as well. It is sad that they have created a situation where I have to quit,” Shettar said, blaming state leaders and the state’s liasion to the central leadership of the party.
“We have all accepted Narendra Modi’s leadership. The country is developing under him. Amit Shah’s strategy is changing the country. I have respect for JP Nadda. But it looks like things are taking place without their attention,” He said.
Shettar is the second prominent Lingayat leader to quit the BJP with elections barely weeks away in Karnataka.
Former deputy chief minister Laxman Savadi quit the BJP earlier this week and quickly joined the Congress after the saffron party denied him a ticket from Athani.
Savadi has now been fielded in the same constituency by the Congress.