Saffron party red-signals Roshan's induction

Roshan Baig

With the BJP in no mood to induct disqualified Shivajinagar legislator R Roshan Baig, his hopes of contesting on a BJP ticket fell flat on Thursday.

Baig, a seven-time MLA who was unhappy for being shunned at the last moment, is likely to contest as an independent.

The BJP will field former corporator M Saravana from the constituency. Following the decision, Baig met chief minister B S Yediyurappa to convey his dissatisfaction and huddled with his supporters to decide on the future course of action.

Social media posts and messages sent to Baig’s supporters, inviting them to attend his induction at state BJP office were quickly deleted late on Wednesday evening. These indicate that the decision to keep him away was a last-minute one. On Wednesday night, Baig had announced his decision to join the BJP with other rebels. 

BJP sources say that they steered clear of the beleaguered leader as his name had cropped up in the multi-crore I Monetary Advisory (IMA) scam. 

On Wednesday evening, Baig's son Ruman Baig had put out a social media post at around 7 pm "requesting everybody to gather in large numbers in support of Roshan and Ruman joining the Bharatiya Janata Party." However, the post was deleted shortly afterwards and Baig's name did not feature in the list of rebel legislators scheduled to be inducted, released by the BJP.

Soon after 16 rebel MLAs were inducted into the BJP, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj minister K S Eshwarappa was quick to distance the party from Baig. "How many times do we have to tell you? We don't want Roshan Baig. BJP doesn't want Baig," he said. By then, the candidature of Saravana was all but announced by the party.

Apart from the SIT detention, BJP leaders had also targeted Baig following the murder of RSS worker Rudresh. Severe criticism by Baig, aimed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2017, also worked against him, sources said. 

When contacted, Ruman Baig said that his father would announce his decision on whether he would contest the polls in a "couple of days."

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