Laxman Savadi, former Deputy Chief Minister, has urged the BJP to nominate him from Athani as his chances of winning the polls are higher compared to other candidates.
“The BJP is likely to lose if it chooses Mahesh Kumathalli as the candidate from Athani. On the other hand, I will win if I get the ticket,’‘ he said in a meeting of Panchamasali leaders in Athani on Thursday. He did not list out the factors against Mr. Kumathalli or in favour of him.
Interestingly, Mr. Savadi is a Ganiga Lingayat, while Mr. Kumathalli is a Panchamasali Lingayat.
Mr. Savadi said that he was willing to give up his seat in the Legislative Council to Mr. Kumathalli if he were to leave the fray. “I still have five years of tenure left in the Council. Mr. Kumathalli can remain a member for so many years. Instead of him, I can contest the polls from Athani and win,’‘ he said.
Mr. Savadi argued that some vested interests were planning to blame him if Mr. Kumathalli were to lose from Athani. “If Mr. Kumathalli becomes the BJP candidate, the party will make me responsible for his elections. If he were to lose, the failure would be seen as a lack of effort by my team. There are some leaders in Belagavi district BJP who want to see my downfall. They are behind such conspiracies,’‘ he said. His followers say this was aimed at the Jarkiholi brothers, Mr. Savadi’s long time political rivals.
Mr. Savadi said that since this was a sensitive issue, it would be resolved in Delhi and not in Bengaluru.
However, this has not gone down well with some loyal BJP workers in Belagavi. How can a senior leader of the BJP predict in public that a fellow party candidate will lose? That is nothing but an insult to the party,’‘ said a zilla panchayat member who is a member of the party core committee. This feedback has been sent to the party high command already, he said.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai reacted to this in Shivamogga on Friday morning. “Mr. Savadi is not only a senior leader, but also an intelligent person. I hope he understands the implications of making such statements in public,’‘ he said in response to a query by journalists.