BJP rebels get the boot; JD(S) loses two nominees

JD(S)' Gurappa Dasyal, a close aide of Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi (pictured) and a zilla panchayat member, had gone “missing” after filing nomination papers.

With the heat of the December 5 bypolls rising, Thursday witnessed an interesting turn of events. On the one hand, the ruling BJP failed to get its rogue candidates to withdraw from the fray while on the other, it managed to have two JD(S) candidates pull out. 

Thursday was the last day to withdraw nominations. 

The BJP expelled its Yuva Morcha secretary Sharath Bachegowda from the party’s primary membership after he refused to withdraw his candidature from Hoskote as an Independent. In fact, the Election Commission has even allotted “cooker” as his symbol. Sharath is taking on BJP’s M T B Nagaraj, the disqualified Congress legislator.

The BJP also booted out another rebel Kaviraj Urs, who is contesting as an Independent from Vijayanagar against disqualified MLA Anand Singh who was with the Congress.

Their expulsion came despite the BJP expressing confidence that both Sharath and Kaviraj will be reined in. Their candidature as independents could help the Opposition parties defeat the disqualified MLAs. For instance, the JD(S) has declared support to Sharath in Hoskote.

Simultaneously, two JD(S) candidates — Shivalinga Shivacharya Swami in Hirekerur and Gurappa Dasyal in Athani — withdrew their nominations, apparently at the behest of the BJP. 

Dasyal, a close aide of Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi and a zilla panchayat member, had gone “missing” after filing nomination papers. On Thursday, Dasyal, accompanied by Savadi’s son Chidananda Savadi, a Yuva Morcha leader, arrived at the tahsildar’s office and withdrew his nomination.

However, Dasyal said he did it on his own volition. “I was in the BJP for the past 10 years. I had voluntarily entered the fray as JD(S) candidate. But vested interests were spreading rumours that Laxman Savadi was behind my candidature. I wanted to prove them wrong and hence I pulled out. Also, Savadi pressured me to withdraw,” he said.

Shivalinga Shivacharya also withdrew. He belongs to the same Lingayat sub-community as BJP’s Hirekerur candidate B C Patil. The BJP was worried that the seer’s candidature could split the Lingayat votes, hampering Patil’s prospects.

The seer told reporters that Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa’s son, Shimoga MP B Y Raghavendra, assured grants for all-round development of Hirekerur taluk. “Also, the senior pontiffs and seers asked me to withdraw.”

JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda alleged mental pressure on the seer to withdraw. “I feel individual freedom was infringed upon following which the seer had to bow down and withdraw his candidature,” he said.

Gowda further alleged that Dasyal was in Hyderabad and brought from there expressly to withdraw his nomination. “Defectors lost in both Maharashtra and Gujarat elections and people will teach them a lesson in Karnataka, too,” Gowda said.

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