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'Won't Go Around With Begging Bowl':BJP Leader Quits After Karnataka List

Laxman Savadi is a loyalist of former Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa

Bengaluru:

The BJP’s turmoil continues in Karnataka after the party announced its first list of candidates for next month’s election.

Senior leader Laxman Savadi quit the party today after being dropped as a candidate. 

“I have made my decision. I am not the one who goes around with a begging bowl. I am a self-respecting politician. I am not acting under the influence of anyone,” the upset leader told reporters.

Sources say he is in talks with the Congress and may soon make a switch.

Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar, however, told reporters: “He is neither in touch with me nor he has spoken with me.”  

Laxman Savadi is a loyalist of former Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and one of the most powerful Lingayat leaders in the state, known for his organizational skills.

In the 2018 election, he lost to the Congress candidate, Mahesh Kumathahalli.

A year later, when mass defections from the Congress-Janata Dal Secular government enabled a BJP coup, Laxman Savadi was rewarded for his role, despite a huge controversy in 2012 after he was caught watching porn in the assembly.

Mahesh Kumathahalli, who was among the defectors, is the BJP’s candidate from Athani. Several other defectors have been named as candidates at the cost of current MLAs.

The BJP is confronting rising resentment in the ranks over its choice of candidates.

Former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, who was among those missing from the first list, headed to Delhi to plead with the leadership. Sources, however, say he may return disappointed, with the leadership determined to follow through with its choices.

Mr Shettar has threatened to contest one way or the other and has not ruled out fighting as an independent.

Even before the list was announced, another senior leader, KS Eshwarappa, announced his retirement from electoral politics. Sources say he had received hints that he would be dropped.

The BJP last night announced the first list of 189 candidates for the Karnataka election. Several MLAs have been dropped and Congress turncoats chosen. As many as 52 new candidates are on the list.

The party held several meetings before it finally came out with the first lot of candidates for the state’s 224 assembly seats.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had, according to sources, stressed that the party must do away with “tainted, jaded and adjustment politics”. He reportedly made it clear that the BJP’s candidates should be “proof of intent” and cannot be a repeat of the past lists that could make people question the party’s promises.

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