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Karnataka Assembly Polls: Senior BJP Leader Eshwarappa Bows Out Of Election Race

BJP leader KS Eshwarappa retired from electoral politics on Tuesday. In a letter to JP Nadda, he requested to not be fielded from any Assembly constituency.

Karnataka Elections 2023
| Written By
Abheet Sajwan

Image: PTI

KS Eshwarappa, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader from Karnataka, has decided to opt out of the Karnataka Assembly elections. In a letter to BJP national president JP Nadda, the Karnataka leader said, "I have taken this decision to retire from politics. Therefore I request you not to field me from any constituency in the upcoming elections. I have been in politics for the last 40 years and have also served as the deputy CM. I thank the party and its leaders for giving me this opportunity to serve the people." Eshwarappa will turn 75 in June, the unofficial bar for BJP for leaders to contest polls and hold official positions, although there have been some occasional exceptions.  

Eshwarappa's decision to bow out of the poll race comes at a time there was speculation about the Karnataka BJP not fielding him in the upcoming elections. The Bharatiya Janata Party is yet to release its list of candidates for the 224-member Assembly polls, which Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) have announced names of a large chunk of its nominees. On being asked why the BJP was taking so long to announce its list of candidates, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said, "Our party is a democratic party and not the dictatorship party of Congress so we are thinking well and talking in detail before releasing the first list of candidates for Karnataka Assembly elections. Karnataka goes to polls on May 10 in a single phase. The results will be declared on May 13. 

Eshwarappa and a contractor's death  

In 2022, KS Eshwarappa had to resign as the rural development and panchayat raj minister of Karnataka after a contractor named Santosh Pilot died by suicide and naming the Karnataka leader in his suicide note accusing him of demanding 40 per cent commission for awarding civil works in Belagavi. Subesequently, a police investigation gave him a clean chit. Upon being absolved of the charges, Eshwarappa sought a ministerial berth, but was not denied. 

Eshwarappa has had a long association with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He became a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) while he was a student of National Commerce College in Shivamogga.   

KS Eshwarappa's controversial remark on Azaan

In March this year, the Karnataka BJP leader spoke out against the Azaan playing on loudspeakers. "This (azaan) is a headache for me, wherever I go I have the same problem. Does Allah hear prayers only if one screams on a microphone? Is Allah deaf?" "Even we Hindus pray in temples, receite shlokas and sing bhajans, we have more faith than them and it is Bharat Mata who protects religions, but if you say that Allah listens only if you pray with a microphone I must question if he’s deaf. It is not needed, this issue must be resolved.”

(With inputs from agencies)

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