BJP’s Hoskote conundrum: Sharath threatens to contest

BJP’s Hoskote conundrum: Sharath threatens to contest

The BJP may be staring at a Mandya-like situation during the crucial December 5 bypolls thanks to brewing disgruntlement within the party on fielding disqualified ‘rebel’ Congress and JD(S) legislators. 

On Saturday, BJP’s Sharath Bachegowda threatened to contest as an independent candidate if the party failed to give him the ticket to the Hoskote bypoll. The Hoskote segment was represented by Congress’ MTB Nagaraj until his disqualification, and the BJP is looking to accommodate him by ensuring his bypoll victory. 

Sharath, the BJP Yuva Morcha secretary, is the son of Chikkaballapur BJP MP B N Bachegowda. 

Speaking at a convention of party workers in Hoskote, Sharath, 37, minced no words about his plans to contest the bypoll.

“I didn’t enter politics for the sake of power. I’ve come to serve people. Three generations of my family have been in politics to serve people and I’m doing the same. I infused strength into the party when it was weak in the taluk. I bagged 98,000 votes in the last election. The party must give me a chance to contest instead of someone from outside. The leadership must think on these lines. Otherwise, it’s certain that I will contest,” he said.  

Sharath lost to Nagaraj in the Assembly polls last year, and the party is trying to convince him that he should rather aspire at succeeding his father in the Lok Sabha.  

Local BJP leader Bhairegowda pointed out that the party’s cadre was against Nagaraj. “Our fight isn’t against the BJP. We’re still a part of the BJP. But our fight is against Nagaraj,” he said. 

The BJP runs the risk of facing a mutiny from its grassroots leaders who may work against the party’s interests during the bypolls, much like how local Congressmen worked against the Congress-JD(S) coalition candidate Nikhil Kumaraswamy, which ensured BJP-backed Independent Sumalatha’s victory in the Mandya Lok Sabha polls. 

“Politically, there will be a ‘for and against’ sentiment always. I’m ready to face all of it,” Nagaraj told reporters. Asked about opposition from Sharath, he said: “The (BJP) high command will decide what to do.” 

The BJP is also facing similar grassroots disgruntlement in Hirekerur, where the party will have to accommodate disqualified rebel legislator B C Patil much to the chagrin of local cadre who want U B Banakar as the candidate. 

 

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