Hubballi (Karnataka) | Former Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on Tuesday said he has been asked by the BJP central leadership not to contest the May 10 Assembly elections, to which he has informed the party top brass of his displeasure with the decision.
Shettar, a sitting MLA from Hubli-Dharwad Central, said he has told the leadership that he would contest the election again, and requested them to give him an opportunity. He told them that their decision was not acceptable to him and urged the party top brass for its reconsideration.
"I received a message from the seniors in the party that I am senior and a former chief minister. So, make way for others," the 67-year-old BJP leader told reporters.
Shettar, a former BJP state unit president and Assembly Speaker, said he has worked hard for 30 years to build the party in the north Karnataka region.
"If they had told me two to three months ago, then it would have been respectable for me. When the nomination is just two days away (to begin), I am definitely hurt," Shettar, a former Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, said.
"I have told them that I will contest the election. Whatever you have said is not acceptable to me. So, please reconsider your decision and give me an opportunity to contest the election again," he further said.
The former CM noted that he got elected to the Assembly six times and every time had won the seat with a margin of 25,000 votes or more.
"I questioned them why I should not contest the election. What are my minus points? In the survey, which they have done in all the constituencies, according to the information I got, a positive response has come -- almost 70 per cent positive response and public opinion is there (in my favour)," Shettar claimed.
He added that the senior leaders also agreed that there was a positive response in the survey report.
"When there is a positive report, and there is no black spot on me, no corruption charges or allegations against me...," Shettar asserted.
Stating that he had been loyal to the party and worked with dedication, he wondered whether loyalty itself was a minus point for him and there was no respect for it.
"When he (call from central leadership) said so, I was deeply hurt. Jagadish Shettar, who worked for 30 years and built the party, has reached this condition, which was painful," he added.
Disclosing that he was offered some other position and asked to discuss with the central leadership, Shettar said he should have been treated respectfully as he is a senior leader and former Chief Minister of the state.
Bengaluru | Senior BJP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister K S Eshwarappa on Tuesday told the party's central leadership that he wished to retire from electoral politics and requested it to not consider fielding him from any constituency in the May 10 Karnataka Assembly polls.
The decision of the former state unit president, who played a key role along with B S Yediyurappa in building the party in Karnataka over the last four decades, came in the midst of the BJP finalising its list of candidates for the elections.
"I wish to voluntarily retire from electoral politics. Hence, it is my request not to consider my name for any constituency for the Assembly elections this time", the former Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council said in a letter to BJP president J P Nadda.
Eshwarappa, who resigned as a minister last year over a corruption charge, expressed his gratitude to the seniors in the party who gave him honourable positions in his 40 years of a political career, right from being a booth-level worker to becoming deputy chief minister.
Later, addressing a press conference, he said he had conveyed his desire to senior party leaders including Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, state BJP president Nalin Kumar Kateel and Union Minister Pralhad Joshi at the state election committee meeting on April 6 and 7.
“Those leaders did not agree with it. So, this morning I sent a letter to our party president J P Nadda,” Eshwarappa said.
The BJP leader said he would work hard to bring the party back to power with absolute majority in the state.
Angry supporters of Eshwarappa raised slogans alleging that he had been subjected to "injustice". They burnt tyres on roads in protest.
The 74-year-old 'Kuruba' (OBC) leader, who is known for his controversial statements, is a five-time MLA from Shivamogga, and has served as a minister holding various portfolios.
The announcement came amid speculations that the central leadership was weighing the option of denying him a ticket.
There were also some reports that he had proposed the name of his son K E Kantesh for the Shivamogga seat.
Eshwarappa will turn 75 in June, the unofficial age bar in the BJP for leaders to contest polls and hold official positions.
He had quit as Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister after a contractor, Santosh Patil, killed himself a year ago in a hotel room in Udupi, accusing him in his suiciide note of demanding 40 per cent commission for awarding a civil work in Belagavi.
Later, an investigation by the police gave him a clean chit. He demanded a ministerial position after he was absolved of the charges but the party did not pay heed to it.
Eshwarappa has been associated with the RSS from the beginning and was an active member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) when he was a student of National Commerce College in Shivamogga.
Later, he along with Yediyurappa, who also hails from Shivamogga district, and other leaders toiled hard to build the saffron party in the State.