The former Chairman of the Karnataka Legislative Council Basavaraj Horatti is an unhappy man after developments in the BJP forced the postponement of the election process for the Council Chairman’s post. Following a section of BJP members opposing his nomination to the position, the government did not move the process of conducting the election, resulting in pro-tem chairman Raghunath Rao Malkapure continuing in the post.
Mr. Horatti, who was promised re-election to the post by a section of senior BJP leaders before he moved from the Janata Dal (Secular) to the BJP, was expected to be elected in the monsoon session of the legislature that ended on Friday. The veteran leader registered a record eighth consecutive victory from the Karnataka West Teachers constituency on a BJP ticket in June this year. He had resigned from the JD(S) and the Chairman’s post to join the BJP before the election.
Dropped in Cabinet
Multiple sources confirmed that Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had met 30 MLCs last week to elicit their opinion on Mr. Horatti’s nomination and 28 of them backed him. “The two who did not support his candidature were Ayanur Manjunath and Sashil Namoshi, who themselves expressed the desire to become the Chairman.” Only after a majority agreed on Mr. Horatti’s nomination, the file to clear the election process was moved before the Cabinet. However, after the proposal met with opposition from a few leaders, the Cabinet note was withdrawn and the process to conduct the election in this session was dropped, sources said.
Mr. Horatti’s candidature has been opposed by a group loyal to B.L. Santhosh, BJP’s national general secretary (organisation), who is not keen on offering the important post to a newcomer to the party, according to sources. “Besides, he is inclined towards Mr. Malkapure from Kuruba community as he feels that the party has to accommodate a Kuruba in a top post after the exit of senior Minister K.S. Eshwarappa from the Cabinet.” Another contender for the post is Puttanna, a Vokkaliga member and also a newcomer to the party.
However, the opposition to the candidature of Mr. Horatti, a respected long-time member of the Council and from the powerful Lingayat community, has not gone down well in the other section of the party. It is learnt that it was a group of BJP leaders, including Union Law and Parliamentary Minister Pralhad Joshi, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Revenue Minister R. Ashok, and former Chief Ministers B.S. Yediyurappa and Jagadish Shettar, had taken the lead to bring Mr. Horatti to the party. “Assurance was given by Union Home Minister Amit Shah after which Mr. Horatti joined the party. It is not right to bring a veteran leader and humiliate him,” sources said.
Now, the election is expected to be held during the winter session in Belagavi. The party’s candidate for the post of Deputy Chairman will be decided based on the community of the person nominated for the Chairman’s post, sources said.