Reports that B. Sriramulu, former Minister, has expressed keenness to contest the byelection from the Bellary Rural Assembly constituency as an Independent appear to have unnerved the BJP.
The party dispatched another team of observers to Bellary to persuade Mr. Sriramulu to contest on the party ticket.
The first team of observers, led by Raghunath Malkapure, general secretary of the State BJP, returned on Sunday after reportedly failing to convince the former Minster who, apparently, was in no mood to listen to it.
Then, the party sent another team, comprising Manohar Maski, MLC, and Amarnath Patil, chairman of the Hyderabad Karnataka Area Development Authority, to win over Mr. Sriramulu.
What was glaring was that Mr. Malkapure was made to wait for over four hours to meet Mr. Sriramulu, as the latter was busy confabulating with his supporters.
On Monday, Mr. Maski and Mr. Patil could not meet Mr. Sriramulu, who was in Gadag. However, they held discussions with other leaders such as BJP district unit president Guttiganur Virupakshagowda, J. Shantha and Sanna Phakirappa, MPs, T.H. Suresh Babu, MLA, and Yerangli Thimmareddy, chairman, Raichur, Bellary, Koppal Milk Producers' Union on persuading Mr. Sriramulu to contest on the party ticket.
“We have come here to ascertain the views of party leaders and workers with regard to the byelection. We know that Mr. Sriramulu is hurt and we are keen to offer him support,” Mr. Maski told The Hindu .
“Mr. Sriramulu is with us. We do not know about his keenness to contest the byelection as an Independent,” he said in reply to a question.