Why ‘firebrand’ Hindutva leader Eshwarappa is contesting against BJP nominee in K’taka

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Why ‘firebrand’ Hindutva leader Eshwarappa is contesting against BJP nominee in K’taka

Bengaluru: The decision of senior BJP leader and former deputy Karnataka chief Minister K.S. Eshwarappa to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections as an Independent candidate has surprised everyone. Eshwarappa, a prominent personality in the state’s political circles, has played a key role along with former CM B.S. Yediyurappa in making the BJP a force to reckon with in Karnataka.

Initially, everyone assumed that Eshwarappa would mellow down after the party’s high command spoke to him. However, his resolve to contest against the BJP candidate has become a major concern. The senior BJP leader would be contesting from Shivamogga as an Independent candidate against BJP candidate B.Y. Raghavendra — the son of Yediyurappa.

Eshwarappa wanted a BJP ticket from the Haveri Lok Sabha constituency for his son, K.E. Kanthesh. However, the party fielded former Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai from the Haveri seat — a development that made Eshwarappa upset, with the ex-Deputy CM eventually deciding to contest against Yediyurappa’s son in the Shivamogga Lok Sabha constituency.

Eshwarappa expressed his outrage against Yediyurappa for not ensuring a ticket for his son Kanthesh for the Haveri LS seat.

“If you open Yediyurappa’s heart, on one side you see his two sons and on the other side, you will see Union Minister Shobha Karandlaje,” he said.

Following the incidents of the brutal murder of Bajrang Dal activist Harsha in Shivamogga and the suicide of a contractor Santhosh Patil, Eshwarappa was denied the ticket to contest for Assembly elections from Shivamogga seat, which he represented five terms.

When former CM Jagadish Shettar and ex-Deputy CM Laxman Savadi quit the BJP and joined the Congress last year ahead of the Karnataka Assembly polls following the denial of tickets to them, Eshwarappa remained calm and stated that he would abide by the party’s decision.

However, the fresh move by Eshwarappa, seen as a firebrand Hindutva leader, hailing from the Kuruba community, could cost dearly to the BJP, political observers say.

The “love-hate equation” between former Karnataka CM B.S. Yediyurappa and Eshwarappa is well known in Karnataka political circles.

The bickering between both leaders would surface from nowhere and both would make peace and become friends within no time.

People will still remember how Yediyurappa and Eshwarappa travelled on two-wheelers from the time of the Jan Sangh.

Over a period of time, Yediyurappa emerged as a state leader and went on to become a mass leader.

Eshwarappa became the face of the Kuruba community and backward classes.

While Yediyurappa managed to get the post of the state party BJP president for one of his sons, B.Y. Vijayendra and is likely to lobby for a Cabinet berth after ensuring the victory of his other son, B.Y. Raghavendra in the Lok Sabha election, Eshwarappa is struggling to launch his son Kanthesh’s political career.

Eshwarappa has earlier stirred a controversy by stating that the ‘Bhagwa flag’ would be hoisted on the Red Fort in Delhi.

Even after the intervention of Sangh Parivar, Eshwarappa has made his intention clear that he is in no mood to backtrack from his decision to contest LS polls and defeat the BJP candidate in the Shivamogga seat.

“After winning the election, I will surrender before the BJP and do as they say. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is God to me. But, the high command should know that the party is in the clutches of one family in Karnataka,” he said.

Eshwarappa became the President of Shivamogga City’s BJP unit in 1982. He contributed to the victory of the first BJP legislator, M. Ananda Rao.

Eshwarappa went on to defeat a heavyweight leader, K.H. Srinivas in 1989.

He served as the Leader of the Opposition in Council and state unit party president.

Eshwarappa was elected as a BJP legislator in 1989, 1994, 2004, 2008 and 2018 from Shivamogga assembly segment.

The party is hopeful that he will be pacified before the election in a week.

Some sources also claimed that “Eshwarappa has the blessings of BJP insiders”.


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