Karnataka polls: Shettar unhappy with BL Santosh, holds him responsible for exit from BJP

Shettar said that he is puzzled why the party gives too much importance to Santosh who has failed miserably as party in charge during elections in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Telangana.

Published: 18th April 2023 03:42 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th April 2023 03:45 PM   |  A+A-

Former Karnataka CM Jagadish Shettar joins Congress in the presence of Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, at KPCC office in Bengaluru

Former Karnataka CM Jagadish Shettar joins Congress in the presence of Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, at KPCC office in Bengaluru on Monday, April 17, 2023. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

HUBBALLI: Former chief minister Jagadish Shettar has held BJP national general secretary (organisation) B L Santosh responsible for his exit from the party. Shettar said he had to quit the party since Santosh wanted to field his blue-eyed boy Mahesh Tenginkai in the Hubballi-Dharwad Central assembly constituency.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, Shettar said it was not the first time Santosh had shown his face of self-centeredness. In the 2018 state assembly elections, Tenginkai got a ticket for the Kalaghatagi segment with the help of Santosh. However, that move met with opposition from the BJP unit in the constituency, who were against a candidate from "outside" being fielded in the seat. Finally, Tenginkai was forced to withdraw his papers.

Shettar said that for the last six months, a kind of whispering campaign was launched by Tenginkai stating the ticket would be denied to Shettar and that he would be a contender for the Hubballi-Dharwad Central segment. Such a campaign was not possible without the support of a "tall leader" like Santosh. Further, an audio leak of BJP state president Nalinkumar Kateel, in which he claimed that Shettar and Eshwarappa would be ousted by the next assembly election, has proved their intention right.

Shettar said he had repeatedly brought to the notice of the State Core Committee a smear campaign against him in the party and also with the Central leadership, but none of them took it seriously. Despite suffering humiliation for months, he kept quiet and when he that his self-respect was at stake he decided to quit the party. 

For the last three years, he was not given enough time to address the State Executive meetings held quarterly. Shettar said he was also not consulted while finalising the ticket for the assembly election. "It was not a question of merely denial of a ticket to contest, my exit from the party has to do with how badly some vested interests treated me in the party".

Shettar targeted Santosh for sitting MLA S A Ramadas missing ticket for the Krishnaraj segment in Mysore and G Madhausudan for the South Graduate Constituency of the upper house in the past. Because of such moves of the latter, the party's foundation has been shaken, he claimed.

ALSO READ | Shettar: A few BJP ‘insiders’ are responsible for my exit

"I don't know why the party has given so much importance to Santosh, who failed to make a mark when he was made party in charge in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Telangana state elections. He is also spoiling the party's prospect in Karnataka too by creating a division in the party", Shettar said.

Though Shettar did not target Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Union Minister Pralhad Joshi for denial of the ticket to him, he said, they did not stand firm when it came to backing him "Joshi himself projects his proximity to No 1 an No2 (Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah), if he had pushed hard in his favour he would have got the ticket. Also, how come the party cannot listen to a chief minister?", he noted.


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