Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Tuesday said the central leadership of BJP had discussed him before finalising the names of two "low profile" party workers as candidates for June 19 Rajya Sabha polls from Karnataka.
The BJP's central leadership on Monday had sprung a surprise by fielding Eranna Kadadi and Ashok Gasti as its candidates for the Rajya Sabha election ignoring the recommendations of the party state unit.
"BJP central leaders have given Rajya Sabha tickets totwo ordinary workers of the party and thereby have given a gift to karyakarts. I compliment Prime Minister Narednra Modi, party national President JP Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah for this," Yediyurappa said.
Speaking to reporters here, he expressed confidence that both candidates would work effectively in Rajya Sabha. "Only BJP can take such decisions and give opportunity to ordinary karyakartas. From our core committee (state) we had sent some names, but ultimately our national president spoke to me and said it has been decided to give tickets to ordinary party workers, we discussed it, after which the two names have been finalised."
The state BJP core committee on Saturday had recommended three names to high command as probable candidates-Ramesh Katti, the brother of senior MLA Umesh Katti, incumbent Prabhakar Kore and hotelier Prakash Shetty.
Ignoring the state unit's recommendation, two low-key workers Kadadi and Gasti, who have been associated with the party organisation for long, were announced on Monday afternoon by the central leadership.
Responding to a question about new names other than the ones decided by the state core committee being announced, Yediyurappa said, "we had sent names after deciding in the core committee. In Delhi under the leadership of the Prime Minister, senior leaders have met and decided to give tickets to ordinary party workers." "It is not for our state alone, the decision is applicable to other states also, I welcome it," he said.
While, Kadadi, a Lingayat is party's Belagavi division in-charge; Gasti from Savitha Samaj (barber community) from Raichur district is party in-charge for the Bellary division.
Both are with Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad background and have worked for the organisation at the grass root level for decades. They will be filing nominations today.
The announcement of two names came as a complete surprise to the party state unit and has certainly given a clear message to its leadership, a senior party functionary said, adding "it is a clear indication that loyalty to the party and ideology is what matters, and not to any particular leader."
It is also part of a strategy to nurture and elevate second-rung leaders, he noted. The move is also being seen as a setback to Yediyurappa, as names considered close to him have not been considered.
This has come at a time for Yediyurappa when there are speculations about dissidence within the state BJP against his leadership, with several MLAs, especially from north Karnataka recently holding separate meetings.
Election is scheduled on June 19 to fill four Rajya Sabha seats from Karnataka, represented by Rajeev Gowda and B K Hariprasad of Congress, Prabhakar Kore of the BJP and D. Kupendra Reddy of JD(S) that will fall vacant on June 25, with their retirement. The BJP, with 117 members in the assembly (including Speaker), can ensure easy victory in two seats.