BJP leadership firmly behind Cong-JD(S) rebels

Despite opposition from some local leaders over the candidature of Congress-JD(S) rebels from BJP in the upcoming by-polls, the State BJP unit has decided to back the rebels following a marathon meeting.

Following a meeting of BJP leaders from seven constituencies from South Karnataka - except Chikkaballapur - which was formerly represented by the rebels, all party workers were instructed to back the official party candidate.

Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, who had left the video conference of DC’s of flood-hit districts abruptly, held the meeting in the presence of BJP State president Naleen Kumar Kateel and party workers from constituencies in old Mysore region. While several workers were skeptical of backing the party-hoppers, the saffron party leadership instructed them to support candidates picked by the party in the upcoming bypolls.

Following the meeting, Yeddyurappa said that party workers were united and would work to ensure the victory of BJP candidate. “We’ll decide who the party candidate is. During the discussion today, we have decided to back those selected by the party,” he said.

Speaking to DH, BJP general secretary N Ravikumar said, “We are waiting for the Supreme Court decision, following which we will decide who will contest the polls”. Party workers from Chikkaballapur, he said, did not participate due to prior engagements. Workers from all other constituencies participated, he said.

Sources said that save Narendra Babu - BJP candidate who lost against JD(S)’ Gopalaiah from Mahalakshmi Layout constituency - none of the other BJP candidates were present in the meeting. While K R Puram’s Nandiesh Reddy said that he was out of town, Hoskote’s Sharath Bachegowda said that he was not officially invited for the meeting.

BJP leadership, sources said, have withdrawn their efforts to reconcile with the BJP leaders - who were offered posts in Boards and Corporations - from constituencies where the Cong-JD(S) rebels are expected to contest on a BJP ticket. Sources added that disciplinary action against some of the disgruntled BJP candidates was
likely.

The next meeting of party workers from seven constituencies in North Karnataka is scheduled for October 26. BJP core committee meeting is also scheduled during the day, following which BJP candidates are expected to be shortlisted for the bypolls.

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