BJP tries hard to douse dissident fire

B S Yediyurappa

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa continued to firefight dissidence within the BJP over the party’s decision to field disqualified legislators for the December 5 byelections. 

Yediyurappa has been trying to make sure that there is no disgruntlement within the BJP going into the bypolls. Of the 15 constituencies going to polls, the ruling BJP must win 7-8 to ensure a majority in the Assembly. 

On Saturday, Yediyurappa reached out to actor-turned-politician Jaggesh, who was sulking after the BJP gave the Yeshwantpur ticket to disqualified legislator S T Somashekhar. Jaggesh was the BJP’s candidate from this segment last year.

Similarly, Yediyurappa also held talks with N L Narendra Babu who lost from Mahalakshmi Layout last year against K Gopalaiah, the disqualified legislator whom the BJP has fielded this time.

Both Jaggesh and Babu, after meeting Yediyurappa, said they will abide by the party’s decision. “The party is important, not individuals. I don’t want to work against the party. I apologise to my constituency supporters who wanted me to contest. No one expected this peculiar situation,” Babu said. 

Despite efforts by the leadership to douse the fire of dissent, the BJP is staring at a rebellion in Vijayanagar and Ranebennur segments. 

Kaviraj Urs, a BJP ticket aspirant from Vijayanagar, has decided to contest as rebel as all efforts to pacify him seem to have failed.

The BJP has fielded disqualified MLA Anand Singh. BJP general secretary N Ravikumar, Bellary MP Devendrappa and others held talks with Urs, but he held his ground. “There are minor differences,” Ravikumar admitted. “We will resolve them soon and put up a concerted effort to ensure the BJP wins Vijayanagar.”

At Ranebennur, where the BJP has fielded disqualified MLA R Shankar, party workers staged a protest demanding the ticket for Dr Basavaraj Kelagar, who was the saffron party’s candidate last year. This time, the party has chosen Arunkumar Pujar. 

During a meeting convened by BJP vice-president M B Bhanuprakash, party workers minced no words while expressing their outrage. They argued that Kalegar, who belongs to the weaver community and bagged 50,000 votes last time, has been overlooked only because Pujar, who polled just about 9,000 votes in 2013, is a Lingayat, the community Yediyurappa belongs to.

The meeting ended with party workers shouting slogans against Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar.

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