Karnataka elections: BJP leadership tells Jagadish Shettar not to contest, he says he will 

"I questioned them why I should not contest the election. What are my minus points?... When the nomination is just two days away, I am definitely hurt," the former Karnataka CM said.
BJP MLA Jagadish Shettar. (File Photo | EPS)
BJP MLA Jagadish Shettar. (File Photo | EPS)

HUBBALI: Former Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on Tuesday said he has been asked by the BJP central leadership not to contest the May 10 Assembly elections, adding that he has informed the party top brass of his displeasure with the decision.

A soft-spoken politician, who has not gone against the party despite suffering humiliation in recent times, Shettar said he will remain in active politics for another 10 to 15 years, clearly defying the party diktat.

“Ironically, the leaders who called me did not reveal the reasons for denying me the ticket, though I insisted repeatedly,” said a visibly disturbed Shettar.

When the leaders called him, Shettar told them how unblemished his political career has been and how he has not faced any allegation despite holding the posts of CM, minister and leader of the opposition.

He also told them he has relentlessly worked to build the party in North Karnataka for the last 30 years. Shettar told them he has won the last six elections with a margin of 25,000-30,000 votes and would win the seventh one too with a large margin. Also, a party internal survey gave positive feedback on him, he added.

“The leaders told me that my request would be discussed at party forums and they would get back to me. I believe in the party leadership will take the right decision. I will wait for the meeting outcome. Till then, I will not speak about my next course of action,” he said.

“It is painful that the leadership asked me to vacate the constituency just two days before filing the nominations. If they had called me two-three months ago and assured me of other opportunities, it would be showing respect for my political experience. The party has given me respect and position, but our family has contributed to the party since Jan Sangh's days,” he said.

“I will be in active politics for another 10-15 years. Age is on my side and I am healthy too.” He said he is not in contact with leaders of any other parties.

Though Shettar’s alleged letter to BJP national president JP Nadda resigning from the party did the rounds on social media, Shettar said he has not written any such letter. “Some mischief-mongers have created a fake letter. If I had to write to Nadda, it would be in English, not in Kannada. This is a fake letter,” he said.

Shettar, a sitting MLA from Hubli-Dharwad Central, said he has told the leadership that he would contest the election again, and requested them to give him an opportunity.

He told them that their decision was not acceptable to him and urged the party's top brass for its reconsideration.

"I received a message from the seniors in the party that I am senior and a former chief minister. So, make way for others," the 67-year-old BJP leader told reporters.

Shettar, a former BJP state unit president and Assembly Speaker, said he has worked hard for 30 years to build the party in the north Karnataka region.

"If they had told me two to three months ago, then it would have been respectable for me. When the nomination is just two days away (to begin), I am definitely hurt," Shettar, a former Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, said.

"I have told them that I will contest the election. Whatever you have said is not acceptable to me. So, please reconsider your decision and give me an opportunity to contest the election again," he further said.

The former CM noted that he got elected to the Assembly six times and every time had won the seat with a margin of 25,000 votes or more.

"I questioned them why I should not contest the election. What are my minus points? In the survey, which they have done in all the constituencies, according to the information I got, a positive response has come -- almost 70 per cent positive response and public opinion is there (in my favour)," Shettar claimed.

He added that the senior leaders also agreed that there was a positive response to the survey report. "There is a positive report, and there is no black spot on me, no corruption charges or allegations against me," Shettar asserted.

"When he (call from central leadership) said so, I was deeply hurt. Jagadish Shettar, who worked for 30 years and built the party, has reached this condition, which was painful," he added.

Disclosing that he was offered some other position and asked to discuss it with the central leadership, Shettar said he should have been treated respectfully as he is a senior leader and former Chief Minister of the state.

(With inputs from PTI)

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