Ballari: Just ten days after he quit the Congress and joined the BJP, the saffron party has announced the candidature of Mr Y Devendrappa for the Ballari Lok Sabha constituency, reserved for Scheduled Tribes.
Though Mr Devendrappa is not a popular face in this ore-rich district, his candidature has not come as a surprise to the rank and file of the BJP. Aged above 70 and hailing from Chigateri village in Harappanahalli taluk which was recently reinducted into Ballari revenue district, Devendrappa is a former Zilla Panchayat member and unsuccessfully contested the Jagalur assembly bypoll in 2010 as a Congress nominee. His name had done the rounds as the Congress candidate before the 2018 Ballari Lok Sabha bypoll.
Interestingly, Mr Devendrappa is not a voter of the constituency. “There is nothing to be surprised about, he (Devendrappa) got the ticket because of Ramesh Jarkiholi (rebel Congress MLA) as he is a loyalist of Ramesh”, revealed sources in the BJP.
Gokak Congress MLA Mr Ramesh has been hobnobbing with the BJP in recent months and Devendrappa is a relative of the Jarkiholi brothers. Devendrappa’s elder son Manjunath, a joint commissioner with the excise department at Belagavi is married to the sister of Ramesh Jarkiholi.
Sources said the BJP leadership had approached Ramesh and Ballari (ST) constituency MLA B Nagendra to contest from Chikkodi and Ballari LS seats respectively on a BJP ticket after resigning from the Congress. However, the sources said, they declined the BJP’s offer. “Indeed, both Ramesh and Nagendra lobbied hard to secure the Ballari LS seat for Nagendra’s elder brother Venkatesh Prasad. However, Prasad failed to secure the ticket as his candidature did not get the approval of Ballari BJP strongman B. Sriramulu”, said a top source adding that neither Molakalmur MLA Mr Sriramulu nor his family members showed any interest to contest the LS poll.
“Hence, the BJP leadership announced the candidature of Devendrappa although he is not a very popular face though he is financially fit to fight the poll”, said a source.
Sources said Venkatesh Prasad will lead the campaign for Devendrappa on behalf of Ramesh Jarkiholi and Nagendra who has apparently decided to stay away from the Congress party’s poll campaign.
The other two Congress legislators in the district, J.N. Ganesh from Kampli and Bhima Naik from Hagaribommanahalli too are believed to be working in tandem with Ramesh Jarkiholi. Mr VS Ugrappa who won the 2018 by-poll is set to contest again as the Congress nominee....