Ballari: The BJP has a problem on its hands in Vijayanagara with mining baron turned politician, Kaviraj Urs refusing to withdraw from the contest as a rebel against its official candidate, BS Anand Singh, for the coming assembly bypoll.
Although Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa tried to persuade Mr Urs to back Mr Singh, he remains adamant. While admitting that the Chief Minister had asked to him to withdraw his nomination papers, Mr Urs told the Deccan Chronicle, " I politely told the CM that I'm loyal to the party and am contesting this by-poll on the wishes of its loyal workers and leaders."
Exuding confidence that he would emerge victorious, he added, " I told the CM that I will be the first to declare my support for his government after I win."
Before Mr Yediyurappa's efforts to persuade him, Deputy CM, Govind Karjol, health minister, B Sriramulu and BJP general secretary N Ravikumar had also made futile attempts to convince Mr Urs to withdraw from the contest on Thursday, the last day for their withdrawal of nominations .
Although they promised that he would be appointed chairman of a board or corporation, he was not moved and insisted on contesting the bypoll .
Mr Urs had publicly opposed the party's decision to field Anand Singh and later filed his nomination papers as an independent candidate.
Going by sources, the rebel leader is being backed by some local RSS and BJP men, who are against the party's decision to field ‘party hopper’ Anand Singh, as he had joined the Congress ahead of the 2018 assembly poll despite winning the 2008 and 2013 state elections on a BJP ticket.
To add to the BJP's worries, former MLA, H R Gaviyappa, who unsuccessfully fought against Mr Singh on a BJP ticket in the 2018 assembly poll and BJP Mahila Morcha state vice president, Rani Samyuktha are not campaigning for the party in protest against its decision to field the disqualified MLA.