Senior Karnataka BJP leader KS Eshwarappa on Friday was pleasantly surprised to get a telephone call from Prime Minister Narendra Modi who praised his loyalty to the party.
Modi thanked Eshwarappa, a five-time member of the state assembly from Shivamogga, for accepting the party’s decision not to field him, praised his commitment and loyalty, and promised to meet him soon.
“It feels great that a leader like you is calling an ordinary worker like me,” Eshwarappa told the Prime Minister in a video shared by the Karnataka politician.
According to media reports, Modi is heard saying: “You have demonstrated your commitment to the party. I am very happy with you. So, I decided to talk to you.”
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Eshwarappa had wanted to run for a sixth term but was dropped from the party’s list of candidates announced this week.
He assured the Prime Minister that he would campaign for the party’s nominee from his constituency, Channabasappa. “I will do everything possible to ensure that the BJP wins in Karnataka.”
Later, he told the media: “I had never dreamt that Modiji would call me. His gesture is an inspiration.”
The Congress, however, attacked Modi for praising a politician accused of corruption, media reports said.
The BJP has fielded many new faces and young leaders this time and dropped several veterans. Some of them rebelled against the BJP and joined rival parties or are contesting as independents.
Eshwarappa has said he was not angry with the BJP.
“I have no regrets,” he said. “I have served the people of Shivamogga for 25 years. I will continue to work for their welfare and development.”