Hubballi: The rebel factor is continuing to give BJP cause for concern in three Assembly constituencies of Belagavi district where by-elections are due in December.
With the Supreme Court verdict paving the way for the disqualified legislators to contest the bypolls, BJP leaders are making a last-ditch effort to persuade Mr Raju Kage and Mr Ashok Pujari , who have already declared they will contest the byelections from Kagwad and Gokak respectively, to change their minds and back the party’s official candidates. Going by sources, senior BJP leader and Hukkeri MLA, Umesh Katti approached Mr Kage , but failed to convince him to remain in the party. And now the BJP is reportedly considering taking disciplinary action against him for his decision to join the Congress and file his nomination from Kagwad on its ticket on November 18.
But when contacted, Mr Katti said he was still trying to persuade Mr Kage to remain in the BJP where he had a good future. “I appealed to him today also after the Supreme Court verdict. I am confident our party will win in all 15 constituencies,” he added.
Mr Kage, meanwhile, said he would join Congress on Thursday as KPCC president, Dinesh Gundu Rao was not in Bengaluru on Wednesday. In Gokak, Mr Lakhan Jarkiholi said he would file his nomination from the constituency on a Congress ticket on Friday or Saturday although BJP rebel, Ashok Pujari , is also eyeing it. In Athani , there is confusion among BJP workers as the party has not yet finalised its candidate for the constituency.
While disqualified legislator, Mahesh Kumatalli is keen to enter the fray, sources say deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi is also a strong contender for the ticket. Fortunately for the BJP, it has managed to quell the dissidence in Hirekerur, Ranibennur and Yallapur, where disqualified legislators are hoping to contest the byelections on its ticket....