BENGALURU: “You might think I’m a newbie, but I am not. I have been working with the party for 32 years. I may be a newbie for the media but not for the party,” said a confident Eranna Kadadi on Tuesday, ahead of filing his nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha polls as one of the two candidates handpicked by the BJP. Standing shoulder to shoulder with Ashok Gasti, the other candidate, Kadadi said all was well in the Belagavi camps.
Twenty-four hours after the duo’s names were announced, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said it was a consensus decision. “BJP alone can take such a decision to give opportunities to grassroots level workers. Our core committee had sent a list of names, but the National President discussed the issue with me at the last moment, and said they had decided to give common workers an opportunity this time.
The decision was taken after discussions with me,” said Yediyurappa, not denying that the duo’s candidature was a last-minute decision. As if to allay murmurs of the high command choosing candidates without his consent, he added that the pattern of giving opportunities to lesser-known workers will be emulated in other states as well.
“It isn’t true that the decision was against Yediyurappa’s choice. Party matters and other matters are different. He is our leader and we look up to him. As loyal workers, we will go with the party’s plan,” said Ashok Gasti. Both candidates filed their nomination papers at the office of Legislative Assembly secretary M K Vishalakshi, returning office for the polls, in the presence of Yediyurappa, BJP State President Nalin Kumar Kateel, Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi and others.
Katti camp seethes
The surprise pick of candidates has come as a blow to the Katti brothers, who were vying for either a Rajya Sabha seat for Ramesh Katti or a ministerial berth for Umesh Katti. Tensions are rising, and the decision seems to have pushed the brothers one step closer to returning to the Congress. Ramesh Katti’s outward support to the two candidates could not hide his irritation on Tuesday, as he insisted on a ministerial berth for his brother.
“Now that I have been overlooked for the Rajya Sabha ticket, we are hopeful that he (Umesh) will be made minister. CM, DyCM, Home Minister -- let them give him any ministerial post. They didn’t give me RS seat but that doesn’t mean I stop working for the people,” said Ramesh. Prabhakar Kore, outgoing RS member and also aspirant, added that the decision had no impact on Belagavi politics.