Bengaluru, March 21, 2019: The BJP high command has reportedly decided to field all 16 incumbent MPs in Karnataka, in what seems to be the result of the party’s attempt to steer clear of factions in its state unit.
The BJP Parliamentary Committee has resolved to extend tickets to all the incumbents regardless of complaints by party leaders against their style of functioning in their respective constituencies, thus ending rumours that three-four MPs could be dropped.
According to sources in the BJP, the party high command arrived at this unanimous decision - to give all incumbents the ticket - after carefully reviewing the brewing dissent between two major factions of Karnataka BJP—one RSS man BL Santosh and another led by party president BS Yeddyurappa.
Initially, it was reported that Shobha Karandlaje (Udupi-Chikmagalur), Suresh Angadi (Belgaum), Anantkumar Hegde (Uttara Kannada) and Karadi Sanganna (Koppal) will be deprived of the ticket for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
“The rumoured candidates had been predominantly identified with Yeddyurappa and any move to appease the other faction would scuttle the party’s overall prospects in Karnataka,” a source in the BJP New Delhi headquarters said.
“If the party leaders were keen on dropping a few MPs from the list, then they should have dropped an equal number of candidates from both the factions. Striking a balance with both the warring groups and keeping the RSS functionaries in the loop, the party leaders have collectively resolved to extend tickets to all MPs,” the source said.
Apparently, Yeddyurappa has personally assured the party high command that it would entirely be his responsibility to ensure the victory of those who have been on the ‘Red List’.
A sitting BJP legislator, who is also a senior office bearer in Karnataka, acknowledged that the party was keen on changing some of the candidates based on internal opinions.
“It was nothing but a tightrope walk for the BJP. While the party could single-handedly decide on overhauling the party structure in Chhattisgarh and Punjab, it could not go ahead with the same vigour here in Karnataka. If there were plans to drop Shobha, then they should also decide to drop Nalin Kumar Kateel (Dakshina Kannada) who belongs to the other faction,” the legislator pointed out. “This factional indifference, which had wrecked damage during polls to the state assembly, may have prompted the party to maintain the status-quo along with Yeddyurappa’s assurance.”
On Wednesday, too, during his interaction with Deccan Herald Political Theatre, Yeddyurappa exuded confidence that all the sitting 16 MPs of the party will be given the ticket.