Haladi was our unanimous choice: Srinivas Poojary

Haladi Srinivas Shetty was the unanimous choice of BJP leaders in Udupi for the ministerial berth, but the party changed its decision, said Kota Srinivas Poojary, who was sworn in as minister on Thursday instead of Shetty.

The last-minute change has led to Shetty’s resignation as a Member of the Legislative Assembly. Shetty has said that he felt humiliated with the party denying him a ministerial berth, especially after inviting him to the swearing-in ceremony in Bangalore. The resignation has not been accepted by the Speaker.

Meanwhile, protests have continued in the Kundapur Assembly constituency over the “injustice” meted out to Shetty, but no one is questioning as to why Poojary was preferred over Shetty.

In an interaction with Deccan Herald on Saturday, Poojary said he does not foresee any immediate solution to the problem being faced in the district unit of the party. State-level leaders should intervene to find a solution, he said. 

Poojary maintained that he did not dream of becoming a minister. The district unit of the party was in favour of a Cabinet berth for Shetty. 

“When Jagadish Shettar called me on Wednesday to inform me that I will be a minister, I told my colleagues. They advised me not to accept it as Shetty should be the natural choice. Accordingly, I decided against going to Raj Bhavan. But later, I received calls from Eshwarappa and Ananth Kumar. I could not refuse the offer then because I have no courage to go against the party direction. I had never lobbied for ministership because I have no contacts in Delhi,” he said.

Poojary added that his family members were also not in Bangalore to witness the swearing-in ceremony as he was in the City to see Shetty take oath as minister.

When asked if he was ready to resign to accommodate Shetty, he said: “The party, keeping social justice in view, has taken some decision and made me the minister. If it wants me to resign, I will do so.”

HDK invited me to join JD(S): Haladi

Kundapur MLA Haladi Srinivas Shetty said on Saturday that State JD(S) president H D Kumaraswamy had given him an open invitation to join the party.  Speaking to reporters, he said: “I have not made up my mind on whether to resign from the primary membership of the BJP or not. I will come to a decision after discussing the issue with my well-wishers and supporters.” 

Reacting to State BJP president K S Eshwarappa’s statement that none of the party leaders had offered Haladi a ministerial berth, he said, “The party president, who was supposed to unite the party at the legislature party meeting, has succumbed to the pressure of one group. Let the people of the State decide whether he speaks the truth or not.”

He also pointed out that he had never succumbed to ‘resort politics’ and had remained loyal to the party. “When the Reddy brothers rebelled against the party, they offered me Rs six crore and a ministerial berth, even then I had stood by the party. But now, my trust has been broken,” he said.

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