‘I am hurt…’: Trouble for BJP before Karnataka polls as ex-CM dissents | Bengaluru

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party faces its first potential rebellion in poll-bound Karnataka after ex-chief minister and six-time MLA Jagadish Shettar expressed his displeasure at being told he will not be offered a ticket to contest the May 10 election and that he must ‘make way for others’.

Jagadish Shettar was chief minister from July 2012 to May 2013 and has also served as the state’s revenue and industries ministers.(HT PHOTO.)

“I received a message from the seniors in the party that I am senior and a former chief minister. So (I must) make way for others…” a visibly irked Shettar, 67, was quoted by news agency PTI.

He emphasised his three decades of service to the party and called the BJP senior leadership’s decision ‘unacceptable’ and urged them to allow him to contest the 2023 Karnataka election.

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“If they had told me two to three months ago… then it would have been respectable for me. When (the start of) nomination is just two days away, I am definitely hurt,” Shettar said, adding, “I have told them I will contest… what you said is not acceptable… please reconsider your decision…”

According to PTI, Shettar has been offered another position but said he should have been treated respectfully given his seniority and the fact that he is a former chief minister.

Shettar was chief minister from July 2012 to May 2013 and has also served as the state’s revenue and industries ministers, as well as having been the Speaker of the Assembly.

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However, the BJP leader, who has also served as Leader of the Opposition, stopped short of saying he would contest as an independent candidate if the BJP would not offer him a ticket.

Shettar is now the MLA from the Hubli-Dharwad (Central) constituency – a seat he has held since the 2008 election; in the last poll (2018) he beat the Congress’ Mahesh Nalwad by over 21,000 votes.

“I questioned them (the BJP leadership) why I should not contest the election. What are my minus points? In the survey, which they have done in all constituencies, according to information I got, a positive response has come – almost 70 per cent – and public opinion is (in my favour),” he claimed.

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“When there is a positive report… there is is no black spot on me, no corruption charges or allegations against me…,” Shettar asked of the BJP leadership.

The BJP does have a record of shuffling its deck ahead of elections but an unhappy Jagdish Shettar – who hails from the hugely influential Lingayat community – could create some problems given he has considerable sway in the northern parts of the state.

Karnataka will vote for a new government on May 10, with results to be released May 13.

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