The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) high command has once again overruled Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa’s choice of candidates for the upcoming legislative council elections to be held on June 29.
The high command rejected the recommendations made by the state core committee and sprung a surprise on people by not giving a ticket to former minister A H Vishwanath, who jumped ship to help BJP come to power in the state.
The party instead gave the ticket to its former Dakshina Kannada district president Pratapsimha Nayak.
Nayak took charge as BJP president in the coastal region after it lost badly in the Assembly elections in 2013.
With the RSS’ background in the debate and backing from state party president Nalin Kumar Kateel, BJP workers felt the high command was sending a clear message to Yediyurappa that he was not in complete control of the party anymore in the state.
Ahead of the Assembly elections in 2018, Yediyurappa handpicked a few district presidents and dropped Nayak from the list accordingly.
But now, with BJP national general secretary and RSS leader B L Santhosh calling the shots, the party has put aside Yediyurappa’s choice and rewarded Nayak by giving him the ticket to contest for Legislative Council.
Even for the recent Rajya Sabha elections, it was Santhosh’s nominees that made it to the list. Yediyurappa’s nominations were left high and dry.
The party, however, gave tickets to two other rebels — M T B Nagaraju and R Shankar — who joined the party along with Vishwanath. It also fielded sitting MLA Sunil Vallyapure from Kalaburagi.
Though the party gave a ticket to Vishwanath during the by-polls amid criticism, he lost the elections and was subsequently put on the back burner. However, since Yediyurappa had assured all the rebels that he would accommodate them in the cabinet at a suitable time, Vishwanath kept waiting for his chance.
“All others who joined the BJP along with me reached the shores. But I could not. I am not sure why I missed the ticket despite being a backward class leader. It pains me,” Vishwanath said.
But he asserted that he was not desperate and still had faith in Chief Minister Yediyurappa.
On the other hand, Shankar went by the party’s instructions and decided not to contest Assembly elections after resigning as MLA. Meanwhile, Nagaraju lost the polls against BJP rebel candidate Sharat Bachhe Gowda.
Due to the growing indifference with the party high command and Chief Minister, his candidature took a toll.
With the elections being held for seven seats of the member of legislative council (MLC), and the ruling party having 116 seats in the Legislative Assembly, the BJP can secure four MLC seats, while the Congress, with 68 MLAs, can secure two seats.
The Congress fielded its general secretary B K Hariprasad and incumbent MLC Nasser Ahmed for the upcoming polls.