MLC polls: Former BJP MLA Raghupathi Bhat decides to contest as Independent Candidate

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MLC polls: Former BJP MLA Raghupathi Bhat decides to contest as Independent Candidate

Udupi: After being denied ticket to contest from South West Graduates constituency, former MLA and BJP leader Raghupathi Bhat has decided to contest the election as an independent candidate.

His decision comes after the BJP decided to field Dr Dhananjaya Sarji, a pediatrician and chairman of the Sarji Group of Hospitals in Shivamogga. Raghupathi Bhat, a three-time MLA from Udupi, was an aspirant for the party ticket.

“I will contest as a representative of BJP workers. Even if I lose or win, I will continue to remain with the BJP. It is not a rebel move. I am not against any leader of the BJP. I have decided to serve the people of the South West graduates constituency,” he told mediapersons.

He further added, “I want to become the voice of the coastal districts in the legislative council. Coastal districts have faced injustice by denial of tickets to someone from the region. Senior leaders in the party had promised me a ticket to contest from the South West Graduates constituency after I was denied a ticket to contest during the assembly elections in 2023.”

“Since 1994, I have served diligently in various capacities within the BJP, as an active worker and also as an office bearer. I have stood as a candidate for the Assembly and secured victory thrice. However, during the last assembly polls, I was replaced without prior notice, and I learnt of my replacement through a TV announcement. Despite this, I remained committed to the party. At that time, senior party members assured me of the opportunity to contest in the upcoming graduates’ constituency elections. In preparation, I led vigorous graduate membership campaigns… Yet, with the recent MLC ticket distribution, one must ask who will address the injustice inflicted by the BJP’s break from tradition, which overlooked the coastal region’s teacher’s constituency for four decades.”

He also expressed displeasure over giving ticket to someone who had joined the party recently. “I am not against Dr Sarji. I would not have contested as an independent candidate if the ticket was announced for senior party workers, who have been working for the party for the last several years. However, caste and money power is given priority while announcing tickets for the MLC election. Hence I have decided to contest as an independent candidate,” he said.

According to Raghupathi Bhat, over 38,000 graduates have been enrolled in the voters list newly. “After I was promised a ticket to contest from the graduates constituency, I have been motivating graduates and teachers to enroll for the voters list in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Chikkamagaluru and Shivamogga districts,” he said, adding that, “In DK and Udupi, 38,000 graduates have been enrolled in the list. Even BJP workers, graduates, teachers have urged me to contest as an independent candidate.”


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