Obliquely referring to many Lingayat leaders, including the former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and the former Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi, quitting the BJP, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said that his party’s Lingayat base continues to be solid and none can breach it.
Interacting with mediapersons after attending a BJP sympathisers meeting in Hosapete on Sunday evening, he said that the BJP will not suffer any jolt by the exit of a few leaders.
“The BJP’s Lingayat fort is solid. There are many Lingayat leaders in the BJP who have been encouraged by [the former Chief Minister and Lingayat leader] B.S. Yediyurappa. Apart from me, there are many Lingayat leaders, including C.C. Patil, Murugesh Nirani, Basanagouda Patil Yatnal and V. Somanna. We have given over 50% of party ticket to Lingayats. Mr. Yediyurappa is the supreme leader of Lingayats. None can breach the BJP Lingayat fort,” he said.
Obliquely attacking Mr. Shettar without taking his name, Mr. Bommai questioned whether the former was a leader before the party recognised and encouraged him in politics.
“All those who quit the BJP and joined that party [Congress] will one day regret it. What happened to those who joined that party is before our eyes. This man [Mr. Shettar] will also regret it in future… The party’s national leaders assured him [Mr. Shettar] of giving a bigger role at the Delhi level. But, he did not listen to them. I could not understand why he took such a decision. I think that it is an imprudent decision. There is no loss to the party if a few leaders quit it. The party has the capacity to manage such things,” he said.
Pointing to party leaders such as Mr. Yediyurappa, K.S. Eshwarappa and Halady Srinivas Shetty who sacrificed their ticket to pave the way for younger leadership, Mr. Bommai said that Mr. Shettar should have also fallen in line with that for developing young leaders.