BJP giving tickets to rebels may irk Karnataka leaders

BJP giving tickets to rebels may irk Karnataka leaders

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While the ruling BJP wants to roll out the red carpet for the rebels or their kin to be fielded in the bypolls, the saffron party faces the challenge of dealing with rebellion from its seasoned leaders.

The BJP must win at least six out of the 15 seats going to polls in order to secure a simply majority in the 222-member (truncated) Assembly.

Speaking to DH, two-time BJP MLA Narendra Babu, who had unsuccessfully contested against JD(S) rebel K Gopalaiah from the Mahalakshmi Layout constituency, said he has communicated to the party, his aspiration to contest the bypoll.

“There are several issues preventing BJP workers from backing Gopalaiah,” he said, adding that the party must rethink on issuing ticket to Gopalaiah or his kin.

A delegation of BJP workers met Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa in July opposing Gopalaiah’s entry into the saffron party. Speculation is rife that the BJP may field Gopalaiah, if he gets relief from his disqualification from the Supreme Court. Else, Gopalaiah’s wife Hemalatha, the former deputy mayor of Bengaluru, may get the ticket.

In Hirekerur, BJP’s U B Banakar lost by just 555 votes against cop-turned-actor-turned-politician B C Patil. Banakar has started communicating to party workers to back whoever gets the ticket.

“According to reports, Patil or his daughter Srishti is expected to contest on a BJP ticket. I am ready to abide by whatever the party decides,” Banakar, a Yediyurappa loyalist, said.

“But what if the party workers are not happy with the candidate,” Banakar asked. “We might then have a Mandya-like situation, where our own people may work against the party.”

Party leaders, however, are looking to the party high command to take a decision on the issue, so as to keep rebels in check. Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwath Narayan said the BJP will take a call on fielding rebels after the Supreme Court decides on their petitions challenging their disqualification.

“We are confident that disqualified MLAs will get justice in the Supreme Court. BJP has already started preparation for by-polls and will field winning candidates in all 15 constituencies,” he said.

According to Kannada and Culture minister C T Ravi, the BJP cadre is aware that the situation is crucial.

“The BJP government was formed because of their resignations,” Ravi said, adding that BJP leaders from these constituencies will be taken into confidence. “They understand the situation well,” the minister added.

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