The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday issued show-cause notices to five of its zilla panchayat members for campaigning openly in support of independent candidate Halady Srinivas Shetty in the Kundapur. However, the rebel members remained unfazed by the action.

In a press release issued here, president of the district unit of the BJP Udaykumar Shetty said that five panchayat members — Rashwath Shetty, Prakash T. Mendon, Ganapati T. Sriyan, Jyoti Sitaram Shetty and Sunita P. Rajaram — were not campaigning for the official candidate of the party Kishore Kumar in Kundapur.

Instead, they were campaigning for an independent candidate. This was a clear violation of the party discipline. Hence, the party had issued a show cause notice to the five members, he said.

Although, the press release did not name the independent candidate, the panchayat members have made no bones about backing Mr. Shetty. All the five were elected from the panchayat seats coming under the Kundapur Assembly constituency. Mr. Shetty, who was a three-time BJP MLA from Kundapur, resigned from the party in July 2012, after he was denied a ministerial berth in Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar’s cabinet in the eleventh hour.

Ganapati T. Sriyan, panchayat member, told The Hindu that he welcomed the show-cause notice issued. “We were, are and will remain with Mr. Srinivas Shetty. We are working for him now and will continue to do so in the future. Even if we are thrown out of the BJP, we will accept that. The BJP can do whatever it wants. We don’t care,” he said.

Mr. Sriyan said that it was Mr. Shetty who was responsible for getting them elected as panchayat members. Whenever they faced any difficulty, it was Mr. Shetty and not the party leaders who helped them out.

“Mr. Srinivas Shetty will definitely win from Kundapur. We will see to it that Mr. Shetty wins by a margin of over 40,000 votes,” Mr. Sriyan said and added that the remaining four members shared his sentiments.

More In: Mangalore