BJP drops names given by Karnataka CM for Rajya Sabha polls, stuns state unit

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Placing its bets on two relatively unknown Karnataka leaders - Eranna Bhimappa Kadadi and Ashok Jasti - as its candidates for the upcoming Rajya Sabha election on June 19, the BJP central leadership has pulled a surprise, both on the opposition and within its party.

After hectic lobbying, the state unit, which had met under the leadership of CM BS Yediyurappa and Karnataka BJP unit president Nalin Kumar Kateel, had recommended the names of Ramesh Katti, Prakash Shetty and Prabhakar Kore. None of the names were considered by the party high command.

Even Karnataka BJP spokesperson S Prakash admitted to being surprised at the names chosen by the central leadership, but defended the move as ‘rewarding grassroot workers.’

“Yes, it is a surprise but both of them are grassroot workers and it only goes to show that the BJP is the only party that identifies and rewards those who have worked at the ground level,” S Prakash told HT.

Eranna Kadadi is a former president of the Belgaum rural unit of the party, while Ashok Jasti is a party leader who hails from Raichur district. “Ashok Jasti belongs to Savitha Samaja and thus a ticket to him is recognition to the backward classes in the state,” Prakash added.

However, a senior cabinet minister in the Yediyurappa ministry, who did not wish to be identified, sounded shocked at the choice of candidates.

“I honestly don’t know the reason why the recommendations of the local unit were not considered. I myself barely remember Eranna though the other (candidate) I have never met in spite of having been in the party for this long,” the party leader told HT.

The Congress on Friday nominated former Union minister and senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge, also a prominent Dalit face of the party, as its candidate for the June 19 polls.

Kharge, a former leader of the Congress party in Lok Sabha, had lost the 2019 general election from his Gulbarga parliamentary seat.

Adding to the mix, former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Deve Gowda has decided to throw his hat in the ring and contest the polls, the party announced on Monday.

The announcement comes as a surprise as in January Gowda had said that he is not interested in going to the Rajya Sabha. The JD(S) leader had said that he will “work towards strengthening the party”.

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