BENGALURU: With its sights set on recording a landslide victory in more than 20 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in the state, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is contemplating replacement of a couple of MPs, including controversial Union minister Ananth Kumar Hegde, with new faces in next year’s general elections. Sources in the party said central leaders are set to drop non-performing and controversial MPs with Hegde and Suresh Angadi (Belagavi) confirming the possibility of facing the axe.
While Hegde thanked voters of his constituency and appealed to them to support any candidate fielded by the BJP, Angadi reportedly expressed doubts about his contest in 2019 Lok Sabha elections during a meeting with his supporters. Hegde, who attracted the ire of senior leaders for his controversial statements, including one on amendment of the Constitution, told his voters, “I don't know if the party will give ticket to me or not. But our party candidate should win in the elections as our nation needs the BJP. Keeping in mind the country’s future, our party candidate should win from Uttara Kannada Lok Sabha constituency,” Hegde said.
Sources said Hegde’s detractors were also doing their best to ensure that he does not secure the party ticket. Ditto with others who perceive him as a strong contender for a top post in New Delhi. The was evident at a recent meeting of the state executive. Hegde skipped the meeting, but Union Minister H.N. Ananth Kumar indirectly warned Hegde not to issue controversial statements in the run-up to next year’s elections.
Like Hegde, Angadi has expressed doubts about whether the party would field him again in 2019. Meanwhile another Union minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda told party workers and cadre about his reluctance to contest the Lok Sabha elections. Sources close to Gowda told Deccan Chronicle that the minister was not keen to contest from Bengaluru (North) Lok Sabha constituency. Meanwhile, Shobha Karandlaje (Udupi-Chikkamagaluru) MP is facing anti incumbency because of her absence in the constituency.