MLC polls: BJP high command refuses to give ticket to former minister Vishwanath


The Bharatiya Janata Party high command has intervened in the selection of candidates by its state unit yet again. The party central leadership has rejected the recommendation by the state core committee to give ticket to former minister A. H. Vishwanath to contest the elections to the Legislative Council from the Assembly constituency.

Instead, it has chosen to field party’s former Dakshina Kannada district president and senior worker Pratap Simha Nayak as candidate for the MLC polls. At the same time, the central leadership has accepted the state core committee’s recommendation to give tickets to two former ministers M. T. B. Nagaraj and R. Shankar, who had joined the party along with Mr. Vishwanath; and former BJP MLA Sunil Vallyapure who had given up his seat.

This is being seen in the party circles as a message yet again to the state core committee, particularly Chief Minister B. S. Yediyurappa, to adhere to “party discipline and norms”.

Though Mr. Vishwanath had made a political sacrifice by quitting the Assembly membership won on the Janata Dal (S) ticket to join the BJP, the party leadership is said to have advised him against contesting the by-polls as it was not confident of his victory. But he contested against the advise of the party and lost the by-polls, sources said.

The high command is not in agreement with the chief minister’s camp which is trying to equate Mr. Vishwanath’s case with that of Mr. Nagaraj and Mr. Shankar, a senior leader said.

While it was clear that Mr. Nagaraj lost the by-polls due to the contest of party MP B. N. Bachhe Gowda’s son Sharat as a rebel, Mr. Shankar fell in line by going by the party’s suggestion against contesting, he explained.

Not giving ticket to Mr. Vishwanath to contest the MLC polls would mean that he cannot be accommodated in the ministry as the Supreme Court has made it clear that those who migrated from other parties should contest and win election to get ministerial post, sources noted.

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In this context, the issue may turn out to be politically tricky for Mr. Yediyurappa as he has to placate veteran leader Vishwanath and his supporters among those who migrated to the party, a leader close to the chief minister, said.

BJP leader Sunil Vallyapure, who earlier represented Chincholi assembly constituency, had abided by the party’s decision to field new comer Avinash Jadhav for the by-polls from his constituency.

Today (June 18) is the last day for filing nominations to the MLC elections. While the elections are being held for seven seats on June 29, the BJP can win four seats considering its numerical strength in the Assembly

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Sagar Biswas

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