BJP rebels' meet with DKS triggers speculation

Ahead of the meeting of Congress observers in the city, two BJP leaders from Belagavi district who lost the previous elections met former minister D K Shivakumar on Sunday.

Though both leaders - Raju Kage and Ashok Pujary - maintained that their meeting was not political, indications are that they could join the party depending on what Congress had to offer. For Shivakumar, this marked his re-entry to Belagavi politics - which had caused enough heart-burn for local Congress leaders in the past.

Speaking to DH, Pujary said that their meeting was not political in nature. “We had met him casually to discuss various issues,” he said. However, soon after the meeting, rumours were rife that both leaders were actively considering shifting camp to Congress after BJP’s decision to field Congress and JD(S) rebels, despite opposition from party loyalists.

Sources, however, said that not many Congress leaders were not keen on the candidature of the two BJP leaders who had contested the previous election. “While former Chikkodi MP Prakash Hukkeri’s name is doing the rounds for Kagwad constituency - where Kage is seeking a ticket, Lakhan Jarkiholi is the most likely candidate for Gokak constituency for the upcoming bypolls,” sources said. They might join the party depending on what is on offer, the source added.

The two candidates are among those who have rebelled against the BJP decision to field Cong-JD(S) rebels for the December 5 bypoll. The duo has also refused positions offered in boards and corporations, insisting that they are fielded rather than the rebels in the bypolls.

Meanwhile, BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel said in Chikkamagaluru that Kage and Pujary will not ditch the party.


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