25 Jan 2024

Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah said this after Jagdish Shettar rejoins BJP

Jagdish Shettar, the former Chief Minister of Karnataka, who had previously left the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to join the Congress ahead of the state assembly polls last year, officially returned to his former party on Thursday.

Shettar, a prominent Lingayat leader, cited his longstanding association with the BJP as a key factor in his decision to rejoin. He mentioned that many well-wishers had encouraged him to return to the party.

Shettar formalized his return to the BJP in the presence of former Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, Union ministers Bhupender Yadav and Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Karnataka BJP president B Y Vijayendra, and the party's media head Anil Baluni, .

Party insiders revealed that Shettar had met with Home Minister Amit Shah and the national president J P Nadda during the persuasion process to rejoin the saffron organization. His earlier departure from the party was marked by dissatisfaction after being denied a ticket to contest the assembly polls. Shettar had subsequently joined the Congress but faced defeat in the elections.

Despite the setback, the Congress appointed him as a Member of the Legislative Council (MLC), a position he has now relinquished to rejoin the BJP. Shettar also commended Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership, expressing the view that India has experienced strengthened governance under his leadership.

Earlier today, Shettar asserted that certain issues prompted his departure from the BJP and subsequent joining of the Congress. He stated, "In the last eight or nine months, there were numerous discussions. BJP workers urged me to return, and both Yediyurappaji and Vijayendraji expressed the same sentiment, so I am rejoining."


Siddaramaiah counters Shettar's claim

In response, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of the Congress countered Shettar's claim, highlighting that he joined their party after feeling "disrespected" by the BJP. Siddaramaiah remarked, "He joined the Congress stating BJP disrespected him... we gave him a ticket for the Assembly election, made him MLC after he he wasn't disrespected in the Congress nor was injustice done."

Despite being an influential figure in the Lingayat community, constituting nearly 17 percent of the population, Shettar faced exclusion as part of the BJP's anti-incumbency strategy. The strategy backfired, leading to a significant win for the Congress in the state.

Regarding Shettar's defeat in the Hubli-Dharwad (Central) seat during the last election, he attributed it to "money power and pressure tactics." He accused his BJP rival of distributing Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes to voters.

Earlier, amidst rumors of Shettar's potential return to the BJP, Congress' DK Shivakumar had accused the saffron party of "desperation" and suggested it as a sign of weakness. Shivakumar commented, "Many BJP leaders are desperately trying for the return of Shettar who is with the Congress now. This is a tell-tale sign of weakness... They don't have candidates for the upcoming general elections."

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