Karnataka

Two BJP ticket aspirants meet Congress leaders

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They feel they may be asked to sacrifice their seats to accommodate disqualified MLAs

Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Raju Kage and Ashok Pujari, who allegedly feel they are being sidelined by their party leadership, met a few Congress leaders, including D.K. Shivakumar, in Bengaluru on Saturday. This is being seen as their effort to join the Congress.

Both these leaders unsuccessfully contested the last Assembly election as BJP nominees. They are said to have got signals from BJP leaders in Belagavi that they would be asked to sacrifice their seats to accommodate disqualified MLAs or their kin. Mr. Kage and Mr. Pujari have not accepted the post of chairmanship to boards and corporations offered by the B.S. Yediyurappa government.

Bharamagouda Alagouda Kage, who is known as Raju Kage, was groomed into his role in public life by the Janata Parivar leaders of the ’80s and ’90s. He served as a Janata Dal MLA and later moved to the BJP in 2004, from where he won three times.

Mr. Pujari has been a BJP leader for a long time. His father Ningayya Swamy was a Janata Parivar leader in Gokak in the ’90s. Mr. Pujari contested as BJP candidate against Ramesh Jarkiholi and lost in 2013 and 2018. Following the resignation and disqualification of MLAs, there has been talks of Mr. Jarkiholi joining the BJP and fighting the bypolls as BJP candidate from Gokak. Similarly, Mr. Kage’s political rival and Congress leader Srimanth Patil is said to be tilting towards the BJP.

Mr. Kage has openly announced that he would be a strong contender for BJP ticket and would change his political affiliation if his demands were not met. He had also told his supporters in Kagwad that he was in touch with Congress leaders.

On Saturday, the leaders apparently discussed the possibilities of the Congress fielding them as candidates. The response of the Congress leadership was not immediately known.

Congress leader Satish Jarkiholi has announced that his younger brother Lakhan Jarkiholi would have the natural claim to party ticket in Gokak and has begun campaign meetings.

Mr. Kage said he was in touch with the Congress ever since talks of disqualified MLAs joining the BJP began.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 8:23:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/two-bjp-ticket-aspirants-meet-congress-leaders/article29938850.ece

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