BJP facing pressure and a potential revolt in Karnataka

With the Karnataka Assembly polls scheduled for May 10, the BJP is reportedly already facing the possibility of rebellion in more than three dozen constituencies

BJP BS Yediyurappa
B S Yediyurappa, who is a member of the BJP's central election committee and the former Chief Minister of Karnataka, has acknowledged the challenges and pressure involved in selecting candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections I File Photo

Ahead of the May 10 Assembly polls, the BJP in Karnataka is already facing a potential rebellion in more than three dozen seats.

B S Yediyurappa, a member of BJP’s central election committee, has acknowledged the pressure of selecting candidates for the upcoming elections.

He mentioned that there are three to five aspirants in constituencies where the BJP has a chance of winning and the party has shortlisted two to three names for each seat. The final candidate selection will be based on winnability and high command’s advice, and the list will be released in two to three days, he told Deccan Herald.

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Yediyurappa and Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai have departed for New Delhi, where they will attend meetings starting on Saturday to finalize candidate tickets.

The BJP is facing a potential rebellion in at least 40 seats due to an excess of aspirants, some of whom have threatened to revolt if denied tickets. Ramesh Jarkiholi, a former minister and Gokak MLA, played a crucial role in facilitating the BJP’s ascension to power in 2019. He has demanded three tickets for his associates in Kagwad, Athani, and Belgaum Rural, threatening to withdraw from the contest if his demands are not met.

Reports suggest that in Ranebennur, BJP MLC R Shankar has threatened to contest as an independent candidate if he is not given the party ticket. Additionally, the BJP is facing demands from siblings of several sitting MLAs for tickets, which contradicts the party’s stance against nepotism (parivarvaad).

Mallikarjun Charantimath, the brother of Bagalkot MLA Veeranna Charantimath, is aspiring to secure the ticket this election season. Sanghamesh Nirani, the brother of Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani, is vying for the ticket in Terdal, where the incumbent MLA is BJP’s Siddu Savadi. Siddappa, the brother of sitting Ron MLA Kalkappa Bandi, is also eyeing the seat. Meanwhile, two brothers from the BJP, Malikayya Guttedar and Nitin Guttedar, are competing for the party’s ticket in the Azfalpur constituency, currently held by Congress’ M Y Patil.

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The Katti family, which holds significant political influence in Belagavi, is facing a dilemma in deciding who will contest the Hukkeri constituency following the demise of Umesh Katti. Both his brother and son are aspiring to contest in the upcoming elections, and the party is yet to make a final decision on the matter.

Sources suggest that the BJP’s Shirahatti MLA, Ramappa Lamani, is facing opposition from party workers, with a “Save BJP” campaign launched by some seeking a replacement for him. This appears to be part of a wider trend, with similar instances reported in other regions like Kanakagiri, Dharwad, Mudigere, Sorab, and Byadgi. These developments are causing concern among the party leadership, and the situation is being closely monitored.

In Gundlupet and Hosdurga, the party is struggling with multiple aspirants seeking tickets against the sitting MLAs. This situation is also observed in Davangere North and Kundapura, where the current MLAs, S A Ravindranath and Haladi Srinivas Shetty, respectively, have announced their retirement. This has led to a situation of uncertainty, with various factions vying for power and representation within the party.

(With agency inputs)