Lingayat leaders sidelined in BJP: Pradeep Shettar

He stated that systematic attempts were being made to sideline Lingayat leaders in the party, implicitly pointing to his brother’s desertion.
Former Karnataka CM and BJP leader Jagadish Shettar’s brother Pradeep Shettar.
Former Karnataka CM and BJP leader Jagadish Shettar’s brother Pradeep Shettar.

HUBBALLI:  After former minister Shankar Patil Munenakoppa, BJP MLC Pradeep Shettar, brother of Jagadish Shettar, has raised his voice in disgruntlement over the way Lingayat leaders are being neglected in the BJP. While the Dharwad district rural unit of the party cautioned the MLC over airing his grievances in public, the latter said other forces are working behind the scenes.

Expressing displeasure over not being invited to any important party meeting or considering his views before taking any decision, Pradeep expressed dissatisfaction on Sunday itself. He stated that systematic attempts were being made to sideline Lingayat leaders in the party, implicitly pointing to his brother’s desertion.

Though Dharwad BJP Rural unit president Basavaraj Kundgolmath admitted that he committed wrong by not inviting Pradeep to a function to felicitate newly elected gram panchayat president and vice-president, he said it was not intentional. He, however, denounced the way in which the MLC raised the Lingayat issue in public. In his defence, he said except for DV Sadananda Gowda, all chief ministers from the party were Lingayats. He also pointed out that in the recent assembly elections, of seven assembly segments in the Dharwad district, the party fielded six Lingayat candidates and three of them were elected. 

As a result of Sunday’s development, to his surprise, Pradeep was invited to a party meeting on Monday. There, the two-time MLC is said to have clarified that his opinion was based on personal experience and had said so in the interest of the party. It seems several Mandal pramukhs, office-bearers of different morchas and others were aligned with his opinion and applauded him.

Pradeep made it clear that he was not quitting the party as he still has four-and-half years of tenure in the Upper House. He said he knew about the party’s discipline as he has been with the party for over 35 years. “However, a sense of negligence has prevailed among many Lingayat leaders. The party should give them positions and re-establish clout of the community to ensure better performance in the upcoming elections,” he added.

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