After the partial relief for the disqualified Karnataka legislators, while the decks for them to contest elections have been cleared, disgruntlement brewing in BJP with many leaders resentful for not being announced as candidates for by-elections. Formally inducted into the BJP, the disqualified legislators have started publicly acknowledging their role in bringing down the coalition government, hand-in-glove with the BJP, particularly the then BJP state president BS Yediyurappa.
Ramesh Jarkiholi, addressing BJP supporters in Gokak where he faces a tight contest, admitted that he spearheaded the rebellion in Congress, conniving with Yediyurappa as he wanted to settle scores with Congress leaders DK Shivakumar, Siddaramaiah and his brother Satish Jarkiholi. Former JDS state president H Vishwanath and now BJP’s candidate from Hunsur also stated that he was approached by BJP MP Srinivas Prasad, several months ago to lead the team to bring back Yediyurappa as Chief Minister.
While the BJP worries that these open admissions will not just damage their chances in the crucial by-elections but also give a chance for the opposition to claim their allegations of Operation Kamala is vindicated, the over-enthusiastic newly-inducted candidates seem to be defying the directions of the CM. Since the formation of the BJP government, CM BS Yediyurappa has been attempting to firefight the discontent with the ranks of the party after he announced that all disqualified MLAs will get a BJP ticket. And just hours after joining the BJP formally, 13 of the disqualified legislators have been named as BJP candidates for the upcoming by-polls.
However, the trouble for BJP has just begun with Sharath Bachegowda openly defying the party leadership, in an act of rebellion, filed his nomination as an independent candidate from Hosakote. Sharath’s father is BJP MP BN Bachegowda from Chikkaballapura. Adding to BJP’s woes, hundreds of his supporters were present at the time of nomination with BJP flags. The party announced MTB Nagaraju, a former close aide of Siddaramiah as its candidate from Hosakote. Four-time MLA from Kagwad constituency Raju Kage joined the Congress after he was denied a ticket. Former Congress MLA, Shrimanth Patil, who had left to Mumbai claiming to be unwell has been announced as the BJP candidate from Kagwad.
BJP insiders say that Deputy Chief Minister, Laxman Savadi who was aspiring to get a ticket from Athani too has been despondent after… has been announced the party’s candidate. Although Savadi said that he was a ‘disciplined soldier of the party. Whatever directions the party will give me, I will abide by it’, sources confirm that he was hoping to tighten his grip on Belagavi district by winning an election and becoming a member of the Assembly. In Hirekerur constituency, UB Banakar has been engaged in a war of supremacy with BC Patil for years now and was hoping to trump him by getting the BJP ticket but was denied. While there have been attempts at a truce between the two mediated by Yediyurappa, supporters of Banakar swear by him and have reportedly resolved to not work for Patil, despite party directions.