Firm on fielding disqualified MLAs in the upcoming byelections, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa appointed eight BJP leaders who had sought tickets to contest the elections scheduled on December 5, as heads of various boards and corporations. The move is seen as an attempt to quell a rebellion by those in the saffron party opposed to the candidature of disqualified Congress and JD(S) MLAs from contesting on a BJP ticket.
However, soon after the list was announced, Sharath Bachegowda — who had unsuccessfully contested against Congress's disqualified MLA MTB Nagaraj — dealt a blow to Yediyurappa's plans by refusing the post as Karnataka Housing Board (KHB) chairman, and maintained that he would contest the byelections.
"I am thankful for the opportunity given by CM Yediyurappa. But, since I am contesting the bypoll, it will not be right on my part to accept it," he said. Sharath, before refusing the KHB post on Wednesday, had raised a banner of revolt against the candidature of M T B Nagaraj from Hoskote constituency and staged a protest with his supporters in front of Yediyurappa's residence.
Former MLA from K R Puram constituency Nandiesh Reddy, who was also against fielding 'outsiders', will be BMTC vice-chairman, paving the way for Byrati Basavaraju's candidature from K R Puram.
Similarly, U B Banakar, Haveri BJP candidate who lost to another Congress rebel B C Patil and had warned that BJP supporters could work against the police officer-turned-actor-turned-politician, was appointed as the chairman of Karnataka State Agricultural Produce Processing and Export Corporation Ltd. When contacted, Banakar thanked the CM for his appointment. However, sources close to Banakar told DH that he was still under pressure from BJP workers to not cede the constituency to a rival Congress leader.
Ashok Poojary from Gokak constituency, who lost to Ramesh Jarkiholi — the first to rebel from Congress which eventually paved way for Yediyurappa government — will now be the chairman of Karnataka Border Area Development Authority.
Raju Kage from Kagwad constituency, Belagavi will head Command Area Development Programme (CADA), Malaprabha and Ghataprabha projects and Basangouda Turvihal from Maski, Raichur will head CADA, Tungabhadra Project. While Kaage had lost to Shrimanth Patil from Congress, Turvihal had lost by a slender margin of 213 votes to Pratap Gowda Patil — another Congress rebel.
V S Patil from Yellapur and H R Gaviappa from Vijayanagar constituencies respectively, were appointed chairmen of North West Karnataka Road Transport Corporation and Karnataka State Small Industries Development Corporation Ltd, respectively. They had lost to Congress rebels Arabail Shivaram Hebbar and Anand Singh.