Bengaluru: “You are not only electing an MLA but also the future chief minister of the state.” That was the message the BJP’s CM candidate and party state president B.S. Yeddyurappa sent out to voters in Shikaripura constituency in Shivamogga from where he is contesting the May 12 Assembly polls, after filing his nomination on Thursday.
Yeddyurappa did not stop at that, he made it clear that in 24 days from now, he would become the CM of the state while thanking the BJP central leadership for giving him the opportunity again by choosing him as the CM candidate before the elections. After paying obeisance to his family deity Uchchangi Swami, Mr Yeddyurappa travelled in an open vehicle from the temple to Market grounds with his supporters. Chattishgarah Chief Minister Raman Singh, Union Minister Ananth Kumar, BJP leader and Ballari MP B. Sreeramalu were present when Mr Yeddyurappa filed his papers.
Sources said the party top brass had advised Mr Ananth Kumar-once considered a rival of Yeddyurappa in the state BJP- to accompany the veteran leader during the filing of nomination to send out a strong message that both leaders would face the elections unitedly.
Yeddyurappa had steered the BJP to victory and formed the party's first ever government in the South in 2008 but was forced to resign as CM in 2011 over graft charges, following which he quit the party to form his own outfit, Karnataka Janata Party. He returned to the BJP after Narendra Modi was declared the party's PM candidate ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Leader of Opposition in the state Legislative Council K.S. Eshwarappa also filed his papers from Shivamogga in the presence of former CM Jagadish Shettar. A Kuruba leader, Eshwarappa, who has served as BJP state president in the past, had last year led a battle against Yeddyurappa's ‘unilateral’ style of functioning by forming 'Rayanna Brigade', an apolitical forum of Dalits and backward classes. The BJP central leadership stepped in and brought about a rapprochement between the two squabbling leaders.
Congress leader and Power Minister D.K. Shivakumar filed his nomination from Kanakapura. The I-T department had on August 2 last year conducted searches at various properties linked to Shivakumar, who had hosted 44 Gujarat Congress MLAs at a resort to forestall alleged attempts by the BJP to poach them ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls there.
The other leaders who filed their papers were BJP leader and former deputy chief minister R Ashok from Padmanabhanagar, Environment minister Ramanath Rai from Bantwal and former chief minister Bangarappa's son and JD(S) sitting MLA Madhu Bangarappa from Soraba. The filing of nominations will end on Tuesday....