"Amit Shah Called Me To Withdraw Candidature, I Said No": Rebel Karnataka BJP Leader

Former deputy chief minister KS Eshwarappa had announced he will contest from Shivamogga, where the BJP has already fielded BS Yediyurappa's son and MP BY Raghavendra.

'Amit Shah Called Me To Withdraw Candidature, I Said No': Rebel Karnataka BJP Leader

Mr Eshwarappa said he will meet Mr Shah in Delhi tomorrow.


Senior BJP leader KS Eshwarappa on Tuesday said the Union Home Minister Amit Shah called him up and asked him to withdraw his candidature from this Lok Sabha constituency but he stood firm on his decision to contest.

Miffed over his son KE Kanthesh being denied the ticket to contest from neighbouring Haveri, the former deputy chief minister had announced he would enter the fray in Shivamogga, where the BJP has again fielded the party veteran BS Yediyurappa's son and MP BY Raghavendra.

Mr Eshwarappa, who had also served as the party's state unit chief, had alleged that Mr Yediyurappa, a member of the party's Parliamentary Board and central election committee, promised a ticket to his son but betrayed him.

He said Mr Shah, who was on a visit to campaign for the Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka, called him up and asked him to withdraw his candidature but he did not agree.

"This morning Amit Shah had called me. He told me that you are such a senior leader and contesting the election, which is surprising. He asked me why I am contesting," he told reporters here.

"Amit Shah asked me not to contest the election and withdraw the nomination papers. He said all the demands will be addressed in the coming days. Three months back I had gone to Delhi and I had explained to him (the prevailing situation in the party) but there were no changes in the situation," the 75-year-old rebel BJP leader said.

According to Mr Eshwarappa, Mr Shah asked him to meet him in Delhi on April 3. Mr Eshwarappa said he agreed but requested him not to press him to withdraw his decision, as it would cause him a problem.

"He must have understood my sentiments behind contesting the election. I will win the election and it will help achieve all the objectives for which I am contesting the election," Eshwarappa said.

He also said Mr Shah promised to take care of his son's political future. "I spoke to my son who told me not to worry about his future and it will be enough if it helps the state BJP unit. I am going to meet Mr Shah in Delhi tomorrow," the leader said.

"I told him (Mr Shah) that I am contesting because I am deeply hurt just as all the workers are in pain, who want 'purification' of the party," he said.

Mr Eshwarappa said the BJP in Karnataka unit should follow what Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been saying - to end dynastic politics.

"Narendra Modi has given a call to free a political party from a family but in the BJP Karnataka unit, the Congress culture is growing," Mr Eshwarappa said adding that it is unjust that the entire party is in the control of a family in the State. It has hurt those who built and toiled for the party.

"I am contesting this election to free the BJP from the control of 'father and sons'," he said referring to Mr Yediyurappa and his sons Mr Raghavendra, who is the Shivamogga MP, and BY Vijayendra, the state unit President and Shikaripura MLA.

According to him, the prominence Mr Yediyurappa's family has got has hurt all those who helped him grow in the party.

"Also, those fighting for Hindutva, such as former minister C T Ravi, MP Pratap Simha, Uttara Kannada MP Anantkumar Hegde, Basanagouda Patil Yatnal or former Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda or even myself...there is a feeling in the party whether it is wrong to work for Hindutva," Mr Eshwarappa said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)