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‘Give aide ticket or face consequences’
With the BJP in Karnataka not budging from its stand against fielding his supporter from Tumkur constituency, former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa has threatened to withdraw his own candidature from Shimoga and has warned the BJP of consequences in a few other seats in north Karnataka. The warning was issued by Yeddyurappa even as another of his close aides, former minister V Dhananjay Kumar, looked set to join the JD(S) to contest the Lok Sabha polls.
The crisis in the BJP over candidate selection — especially for Tumkur — moved to New Delhi on Wednesday with senior state leaders and Yeddyurappa flying there in an attempt to finalise candidates for eight seats out of the 28 in the state for which the BJP has not announced candidates yet.
Yeddyurappa has been battling over the past few weeks to get one of ardent supporters, G S Basavaraju, a BJP ticket to contest the Tumkur seat. However, with the BJP leadership and the RSS not favorable to Basavaraju, Yeddyurappa is threatening a mutiny, sources in the BJP said.
Sources close to Yeddyurappa, however, said he had not exactly threatened to withdraw but has warned of consequences for the BJP in other seats where his Lingayat community is dominant. “He has told the party that not fielding Basavaraju in Tumkur will affect party’s prospects in constituencies in north Karnataka like Bidar and Raichur,” a source said.
On Wednesday, the BJP’s state election meeting met for over four hours and Yeddyurappa is said to have strongly presented a case for fielding Basavaraju. He also demanded re-induction of his other supporters to the party.
Sources the state election committee headed by state president Prahlad Joshi decided to take Yeddyurappa along to New Delhi to meet party chief Rajnath Singh before the final list is announced.
The warning by Yeddyurappa to accommodate his supporters came even as his close aide Dhananjay Kumar moved closer to H D Deve Gowda’s JD(S). The former minister, who was vocal in his criticism of senior BJP leaders last year when he was a part of Yeddyurappa’s rebel political outfit, said Gowda had offered him the Udupi Chikamagalur seat and that he would take a decision soon.
Yeddyurappa and his supporters had quit the BJP in December 2012 to float the KJP following differences with the BJP national leadership in the backdrop of the party alienating him following a graft case. They returned to BJP in January after Narendra Modi became a central force in the BJP.
While most of Yeddyurappa’s supporters have been accommodated, a few who had been the most vocal in attacking the BJP’s leaders, including L K Advani, during the period of estrangement last year have been kept out.