Karnataka polls: Lack of consensus on 40 seats delays BJP candidates list; BS Yediyurappa leaves Delhi

While many state leaders, including CM Bommai, are in Delhi, former CM Yediyurappa returned to Bengaluru on Monday.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published Apr 11, 2023 | 4:28 PM Updated Apr 11, 2023 | 4:30 PM

BJP announced the second list of candidates for 23 Assembly seats for the 10 May Karnataka assembly polls on Wednesday.

With less than a month remaining for the Assembly polls in Karnataka, a consensus on candidates in at least 40 seats seems to be eluding the ruling BJP.

In a development that has raised eyebrows, veteran leader and former chief minister BS Yediyurappa left Delhi and returned to Bengaluru despite meetings continuing over candidates in the party headquarters.

“I have conveyed my opinions and made my suggestions. It is up to them to decide whether to consider it or not. There is nothing more for me to add” BS Yediyurappa is said to have told his confidantes about why he returned to Bengaluru despite the list not being finalised.

The BJP was expected to announce most of its candidates on Monday, 10 April. However, party sources said the BJP has not finalised the candidates in at least 40 seats, which has been delaying the list.

Senior leaders, BJP Parliamentary Board member BS Yediyurappa and Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said in Delhi that the list would be released either late on Tuesday night, or Wednesday.

The BJP Parliamentary Board meeting on 9 and 10 April discussed possible candidates for all the 224 Assembly segments going to the polls on 10 May.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired the meeting. However, the meeting could not finalise candidates for 40 seats. The party has reportedly finalised candidates in around 170 segments.

“The candidates for a few Assembly seats are yet to be decided. We held a detailed discussion on those seats. The first list is likely to be released in a day or two,” Bommai told reporters in Delhi on Tuesday.

Former chief minister Yediyurappa, reportedly upset with the party’s high command over the distribution of tickets, walked out of the meeting.

Related: BJP refuses to project CM face in Karnataka poll

BSY returns to Bengaluru

Lingayat strongman Yediyurappa returned to Bengaluru late on Monday night.

Bommai, Water Resources Minister Govind Karjol, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Coals and Mines Pralhad Joshi are still in Delhi.

Yediyurappa’s return to Bengaluru has led to speculation that all is not well within the party.

“Yediyurappa returned to Bengaluru as the Parliamentary Board meeting had concluded on Monday. He is not upset with the party’s high command over the distribution of tickets,” a Yediyurappa aide told South First.

However, party sources said the former chief minister demanded party tickets for his followers in at least 20 Assembly seats. “The party high command did not agree to this demand,” the sources said.

Before leaving for Bengaluru, Yediyurappa held a brief meeting with BJP national president JP Nadda at the latter’s residence.

Related: BJP central leadership meets to finalise candidates

Not upset, says former CM

“I am not upset with the party’s high command. I am always the happiest person. My only aim is to bring the party back to power in the state,” Yediyurappa said while refuting rumours that he was angry.

“We discussed all 224 Assembly segments in detail,” he told reporters in Delhi. “The list is likely to be released on Tuesday. There was no confusion at the meeting. We have to abide by the final decision of the high command.”

He added: “Looking at the candidates’ list, I am 100 percent confident that the party will retain power in the state.”

When asked whether the party will announce the candidates for all the seats, he said: “The discussion was on all the 224 Assembly seats. The party is likely to announce the candidates for about 15 segments in the next list.”

Also read: BJP MLA Muniratha booked for hate speech

Bommai to meet Amit Shah

Before announcing the list, Bommai is expected to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah at his residence in Delhi on Tuesday.

Even though Yediyurappa was in Delhi on Monday, Bommai and other party leaders held a separate meeting with party national president Nadda and Shah. They also held talks with Union Minister Joshi.

“We have charted a roadmap on how to work during the elections. We will have a meeting with Union Minister Shah and release the final list either on Tuesday or Wednesday,” Bommai said in Delhi.

“Yediyurappa took part in all the meetings. He also met Nadda and expressed his views. We held a detailed discussion on all the seats,” the chief minister, who has been camping in Delhi for the past three days, said.

Related: Lokayukta police get custody of BJP MLA in bribery case

BJP may drop 8-10 MLAs

The BJP is not likely to field several sitting MLAs. Rumours are rife that eight to 10 MLAs would be denied party tickets.

Even Yediyurappa said that the party is not likely to give tickets to a few MLAs. The MLAs from Haveri, Davanagere North, Channagiri, Mudigere and a few others are likely to be left out.

Bommai, however, refuted the rumours. “The talk about denying tickets to sitting MLAs is baseless. There are certain criteria in the party while distributing tickets and they will be followed,” he said.

“The central leadership is clear about certain things regarding candidates,” Bommai said, adding that the meeting also discussed allegations of corruption levelled against a few MLAs.

Related: Miffed Karnataka Congress leaders threaten to quit party

Savadi to go it alone?

In an unexpected turn of events, BJP state vice-president and MLC Laxman Savadi is likely to contest as an independent candidate, if the party fails to field him from the Athani Assembly seat.

Savadi had represented the Athani Assembly segment three times since 2004. He lost to Congress candidate Mahesh Kumatali in the 2018 Assembly elections.

After Mahesh defected from the Congress and helped the BJP to come to power in 2019, the party gave him a ticket in the Assembly bypoll.

Mahesh won the 2019 bypoll. He is a close aide of Gokak MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi. He has asked the party’s high command to field Mahesh. He also threatened to retire from politics if the leadership did not heed his demand.

With the wind blowing in favour of Mahesh, Savadi held a series of meetings with his supporters at his residence in Athani.

“Savadi’s followers have urged him to contest as an independent candidate. The final decision is likely to be made once the ticket is announced. He is not ready to leave his seat to Mahesh,” a close aide of Savadi told South First.

Related: Several legislators exit BJP and JD(S); Congress welcomes most

Leaders demand tickets for their children

At least five BJP leaders, including Yediyurappa, Karjol and minister V Somanna, have reportedly demanded tickets for their sons.

The BJP central leadership, including Modi and Shah, have been critical of dynasty politics in the Congress and JD(S). Now, both leaders are said to be in a tough spot as many of its senior leaders are demanding party tickets for their children.

Yediyurappa demanded the high command to field his son BY Vijayendra, who is also the party’s state vice-president, from Shikaripura.

Karjol has demanded the Nagthan seat for his son Gopal Karjol, while Somanna is eyeing Govindraj Nagar for his son Arun Somanna.

Davanagere MP GM Siddeshwara asked the high command to field his son Anit Kumar from Davanagere North.  KS Eshwrappa has demanded a ticket for his son KE Kantesh.

However, the prime minister is reluctant to agree to the demands of these senior leaders as it will be against the party’s anti-dynasty politics stand, sources claimed.