Deeply upset veterans, growing dissent, and threats to fight the May 10 Karnataka elections as independents have forced the BJP to seek the assistance of their troubleshooter BS Yediyurappa in the state unit.
“Like in the Mahabharata where Vidhura has been the Margadarshak and counsellor for both the Pandavas and the Kauravas, Yediyurappa has been asked to try and curb the rebellion in the party before it takes a more serious turn,” said a staunch supporter of BSY to News18.
With the BJP dropping six MLAs in the second list, which was released on Wednesday, Yediyurappa’s role will be all the more relevant to quell the possible revolt in the party.
It is learnt that BJP national president JP Nadda in a telephonic conversation with BSY sought his intervention to defuse a possible rebellion in the Karnataka BJP.
Yediyurappa was asked to hold a one-to-one meeting with all the aggrieved leaders who were denied tickets and have threatened to stand as independents or resign from the party membership.
According to sources, Nadda had stressed that the current crisis can be resolved only by BSY who has a good connection with the upset leaders. BSY is said to have assured the leadership that he will channel all his attention and energies to resolve the snowballing problem.
Over 1,200 BJP Kartyakartas from various local units of the BJP in Bengaluru resigned en masse from the primary membership of the party in protest after NR Ramesh, president of the Bangalore South District, was denied a ticket.
The central leadership of the BJP got in touch with BSY after five senior leaders — former chief minister Jagadish Shettar, former deputy chief ministers KS Eshwarappa and Laxman Savadi, former fisheries and port minister S Angara and three-time MLA from Udupi Raghupati Bhat — all expressed their anger and extreme disappointment in the way ticket was denied to them by the party for their constituencies.
Eshwarappa and Angara announced retirement from electoral politics, while a miffed Shettar and Savadi sent out a clear signal to the party leadership that they will not hesitate to stand as independents.
Shettar, Angara, and Bhat felt ‘humiliated’ by the way the news was communicated to them.
“This is not the way to treat us,” said Raghupati Bhat who was asked to step aside to introduce political greenhorn Yashpal Suvarna as a new face in this election.
Bhat even said he was not sad over the party’s decision to not give him a ticket, but the fact that he had to learn about it from the media.
“I was not even informed by the district president. I learned that I have been denied a ticket through news flashes on TV. Is this the way I should get to know the decision of the party? That boy (Suvarna) has been groomed by us. Ami Shah called Shettar and informed him. I don’t expect Shah to call me, but at least the district president should have done it,” Bhat told media.
Shettar and Angara also shared the similar sentiment. They said had they been informed a few months earlier, it would have been more respectable and they would have considered stepping aside.
The biggest threat to the BJP has been Jagadish Shettar who has won the seat six times. The sulking former chief minister of Karnataka was summoned to Delhi on Wednesday to meet Nadda. After the meeting, Shettar said he was “hopeful” but the BJP is yet to decide on the name of the candidate for the Hubballi-Dharwad Central assembly segment where he is the sitting MLA.
“I have spoken to the people of my constituency. They have urged me to fight the election, so I will definitely contest,” said Shettar after the meeting where he was promised a positive outcome.
The first list of 189 candidates did not feature Shettar’s constituency, but on April 11, Shettar held a media briefing to disclose that he had received a call from the party asking him not to contest the upcoming elections.
According to party sources, BSY had also recommended that Shettar be given a ticket as he is an influential Lingayat leader who could pose to be a problem in the Hubballi-Dharwad region and parts of North Karnataka dominated by the community and is largely a BJP stronghold.
Yediyurappa told ANI that “99 percent Jagadish Shettar will be given an election ticket”.
With inputs from News18