Hubballi: Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi may have publicly declared his support for disqualified legislator Mahesh Kumatalli in Athani for the coming bypoll, but he largely ignored him as he filed his nomination papers on Monday and did not accommodate him in his car when the BJP candidate tried to get in and sit beside him.
Adding to suspicion that he is secretly working against Mr Kumatalli, his close friend and BJP Zilla Panchayat member, Guru Dashyal, also filed his nomination papers for Athani on Janata Dal (Secular) ticket.
As Mr Dashyal also comes from the Telasanga Zilla Panchayat constituency that Mr Kumatalli belongs to, it is rumoured the Mr Savadi is trying to divide the BJP votebank. The idea is gaining ground as two BJP members are already backing Mr Dashyal.
However, speaking to reporters, Mr Kumatalli maintained that the Athani assembly byelection was being fought under the leadership of Mr Savadi and all BJP leaders were working to ensure his victory.
Meanwhile, Ms Srushti Patil, daughter of Hirekerur disqualified legislator B.C. Patil also filed her nomination papers along with her father on Monday.
It is believed she has entered the contest as a precaution against her father's nomination being rejected. As for Mr Patil, he said he felt he was the “right person in the right party” after joining the BJP and was happy that his rival in the last Assembly election, U B Banakar, was backing him this time.
Promising to take the constituency to new heights of development if elected, he claimed he would not have toppled the JJanata Dal (Secular)–Congress coalition government if it had allocated adequate funds for it.