Jagadish Shettar, former Chief Minister and leader of the BJP in the Legislative Assembly, on Sunday defended the party’s decision to withdraw its candidates in the by-elections to the two Lok Sabha seats.

“We withdrew our candidates to strengthen the chances of the Janata Dal(S) and defeat the Congress,” he said.

He was speaking to the media during his brief stay in the city on his way to Shivapura in Belur, where he attended a programme.

He exuded the confidence that the Congress would be defeated in the two Lok Sabha segments and three Legislative Council constituencies that are facing by-elections. “The Congress has lost the confidence of people three months after coming to power. All Opposition parties have joined hands to defeat the Congress in the by-elections,” he said.

In reciprocal to the BJP’s gesture, the Janata Dal(S) has not fielded its candidates in the Legislative Council by-elections. The Karnataka Janata Paksha has also extended its support to the Opposition candidates with a view to defeating the Congress. “Based on the results in the by-elections, the BJP would decide on further alliances for the general elections,” he said.

To a question on the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa re-joining the BJP, Mr. Shettar said that the decision was left to the party high command.

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