Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar has said that the elections to the urban local bodies (ULBs) would not be a referendum on the BJP government.

“Elections to the ULBs are fought on local issues. Moreover, about 30 per cent of the State’s population will be voting. As such, we can’t consider the elections to the ULBs as a referendum,” he said.

Mr. Shettar, who was here to participate in the fifth State-level convention of the Panchamasali community, was responding to journalists’ questions at the helipad here on Sunday.

The BJP was facing the elections as a political party and would fight it with grit to emerge victorious. Mr. Shettar said the Karnataka Janata Paksha (KGP) and the BSR Congress would not affect the BJP prospects in the ULB elections. “The BJP is a cadre-based party. It has grown considerably and has a large number of workers at the grassroots. Such being the situation, it does not matter as to who leaves the party and forms a new political outfit of his/her own. I am confident that the BJP will come out with flying colours in the ULB elections,” he said.

After inaugurating the convention, Mr. Shettar said his government had announced Rs. 5-crore grant for the development of the Harihar Panchamasali Peetha. A sum of Rs. 1 crore had been released.

“I will extend all support to the community and respond positively to the wishes of Siddalinga Swami,” he said and left the venue.

Brief speech upsets people

People who got upset with his brief speech started shouting that the Chief Minister had not uttered a word on the major demand of the community — of including it in category 2A of the backward classes list. Mr. Shettar, however, did not respond to this.

Basavaraj Dindur, president of the State Panchamasali Association, later reiterated the community’s major demand.

Bhavi Bettappa, honorary State president of the association, welcomed the gathering.

B.S. Anand Singh, Minister for Tourism, Nemiraj Nayak and Sarvabhoum Bagali, MLAs, and Shivarame Gowda, Koppal MP, were among those present.

More In: Karnataka | National