In a rebellious tone, former Karnataka chief minister Jagadish Shettar has said denying him a ticket to the Hubli-Dharwad Central constituency for the Assembly polls will have a bearing on at least 20 to 25 seats even as Union Minister Pralhad Joshi met him here on Saturday with an assurance that the party would take an appropriate decision on his candidature.
Shettar is the sitting MLA from Hubli-Dharwad Central and the BJP high command had earlier in the week asked him to drop his name for the election that left the former CM upset.
The BJP has not yet released the list of candidates for 12 constituencies, including Hubli-Dharwad Central.
As 16 Hubballi-Dharwad Municipal Corporation councillors offered to tender their resignation with BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel today, the senior leader said he was grateful to them for showing their affection towards him.
Addressing his supporters, Shettar said he has not lost his hopes and would wait till the evening. "I have not lost my hopes. I have time till the evening and the nomination will take place till the evening. I will take your opinion and then I will decide my next course of action. We will discuss if I do not get ticket. I believe that such a situation will not arise," he said.
"They (councillors) have expressed their displeasure. They are hurt. For them, it's enough now. Their feelings are hurt so they are expressing their anger by resigning from the municipal corporation," the former Karnataka Assembly speaker said.
Shettar added that that he will take note of the councillors' opinion before deciding on the next step. To a query that some top BJP functionaries were confident of him getting the ticket, Shettar said he was aware of such statements but wanted "the result".
There was a protest in support of Shettar and a public meeting too was held in Hubballi. The BJP intensified its efforts to persuade Shettar and shed his rebellious as Union Minister for Coal and Mines Pralhad Joshi along with State Minister Shankar Patil Munenakoppa met Shettar while Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai spoke to him.
"We have been trying to persuade him. Efforts are on till now. I spoke to Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan till yesterday. He (Shettar) is a senior leader of north Karnataka and we are making all efforts to retain him," Bommai said. Union Minister Joshi told reporters, after meeting Shettar, that the party will make use of the senior leader's services.
Hailing Shettar as a veteran BJP leader who served as MLA for about 30 years, Joshi said: "We have conveyed to him that the party needs his service. Hence, the party is discussing about him." The BJP leader added that discussions were held with Shettar and the party would take an appropriate decision.
Earlier on Friday night, the senior BJP leader had said he would wait for the party's decision on the ticket till Sunday to decide his next course of action.
When questioned about the impact on the BJP for treating senior party functionaries in such a manner, he said the ruling dispensation has to think about it. "The party has to ensure that it should not have any negative impact. Even former CM B S Yediyurappa has said that if Shettar does not get a ticket, then it will have a bearing not in just one place...it will have an immediate effect in many constituencies in north Karnataka -- at least 20 to 25 constituencies," Shettar said.
"It will indeed have an effect across Karnataka but the immediate impact will be seen in 20 to 25 constituencies," he added. Shettar held a press conference on April 11 saying that he received a call from Delhi where a senior party functionary asked him to drop his candidature to make way for young people. He said this was not acceptable to him and expressed his resolve to contest the election this time come what may.
The BJP has so far put out a list of 212 candidates for the Assembly election and has not yet announced the names of remaining 12 seats. Karnataka, which has 224 seats in the state Assembly, will go to polls on May 10 and the results will be declared on May 13.