DAVANAGERE: With just three weeks left for the Hanagal bypoll, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai is leaving no stone unturned to win the Assembly segment that comes under his home district Haveri. On Monday and Tuesday, Bommai held meetings at GMIT guest house belonging to Davanagere MP GM Siddeshwara and chalked out poll strategies to win Hanagal.
He also used the platform to quell dissidence that has emerged in Hanagal by trying to convince Channappa R Ballari— a BJP rebel candidate— to withdraw the nomination papers. Also, there is disappointment in the camp of Haveri MP Shivakumar Udasi as he was expecting the party to field his wife Revathi Udasi. The BJP has fielded Shivaraj Sajjanar for the October 30 Hanagal bypoll, necessitated following the demise of BJP MLA CM Udasi.
According to sources, Bommai held several closed-door meetings with Panchamasali leaders BC Umapathi and Chandrashekhar Poojar, Ranebennur MLA Arunkumar Poojar, independent candidate Ballari, MPs Siddeshwara and Shivakumar Udasi and ministers Sunil Kumar, BC Patil, and R Munirathna.
“I have come to Davanagere to discuss two issues. One— development of Davanagere. Meetings were held with elected representatives from the district in this regard. Secondly, to discuss poll strategies to win Hanagal,” Bommai told the media after the meeting.
On Ballari contesting as a rebel, Bommai said, “We are good old friends. I have requested him to withdraw his papers. He, however, told me that he will take a call after discussing the matter with his community leaders and others.”
On his part, Ballari said that he was an aspirant of BJP’s ticket from Hanagal. “I don’t know the reason for the party denying me the ticket. People from the Panchamasali Lingayat community wanted me to contest. Hence, I filed my nomination. I will take a call on withdrawing from the fray after holding talks with my supporters and community leaders on October 13 (the last date to withdraw nominations),” he added.
“CM is my close friend. If the results of the bypolls become negative, it would dent his image. I am thinking on those lines too. CM persuaded me to withdraw my papers saying that his image is at stake. My brother Virupakshappa Ballari is BJP MLA from Byadgi... So, can’t I become an independent MLA?” he asked.