18 Apr 2023

Karnataka Assembly Election-2023: Jagdish Shettar In Situation Similar To Shivappa; JP Nadda In Hubli For Damage Control

BENGALURU: Is Karnataka's history repeating itself? This question has been troubling the people of the state ever since Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stalwart Jagadish Shettar bid goodbye to the saffron party and joined the Congress.


Shettar joined the Congress after being denied a ticket from the BJP to contest from the Hubballi-Dharwad Central constituency, which he had held for himself since 1994. Shettar is in a situation similar to BJP leader BB Shivappa, who built the party twenty-four years ago along with BS Yediyurappa and others.


Shivappa Couldn’t Become Leader Of Opposition


Shettar has been complaining of humiliation by the saffron party by denying him a ticket. Earlier Shivappa did the same in 1999 after the party selected Shettar to become the Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly. Shivappa was neglected by the party because Yediyurappa and KS Eshwarappa had lost the assembly elections.


Both Shivappa and Shettar belong to Lingayat community

The party ignored Shivappa, angering his supporters who pelted stones at the newly-inaugurated BJP office in the city. Interestingly, both the leaders belong to the influential Lingayat community. Shivappa then publicly blamed Yediyurappa for this, who lost the assembly elections. Shettar is now blaming some leaders in the state party unit for depriving Ananth Kumar of the coveted post.


Shivappa later returned to the BJP, but until his death in 2017 was haunted by the pain of not being Leader of the Opposition.


Congress trying to capitalize on anti-Lingayat attitude of BJP


Meanwhile, BJP insiders claim that Shettar's exit from the BJP is not going to affect the party as the Hubli-Dharwad Central constituency has been BJP's impregnable fortress since 1994. They also claim that Shettar's political influence is limited to Hubli, though the Congress is trying to capitalize on the anti-Lingayat attitude of the BJP.


Damage control by Nadda


BJP National President JP Nadda is visiting Hubli on Tuesday as an immediate step to thwart Shettar's attempt to woo key BJP workers and functionaries. Nadda will participate in 2 programs in Hubli on Tuesday evening, but his visit to Hubli is also being linked to the rebellion of veteran party leader Jagadish Shettar. It is believed that after Shettar joined the Congress, the party is now engaged in damage control in his area of influence. That's why party president JP Nadda himself is going on a tour of that area.


Significantly, the Hubli-Dharwad Central constituency is a stronghold of the BJP. It was a Congress bastion for four elections from 1957. Then the Janata Party made it their fort. The Congress again won the seat in 1989, but since 1994 it has remained an impregnable fortress of the BJP. The amazing thing is that this constituency has given two Chief Ministers. In the year 1998 SR Bommai of Janata Party became the Chief Minister and in 2012 Jagadish Shettar of Bharatiya Janata Party became the Chief Minister.

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