AH Vishwanath, who was defeated in the bye-election from the Hunasuru Assembly constituency, appealed to the state BJP leadership to make him a Minister when the cabinet expansion takes place.
The expansion of the Karnataka cabinet is expected to be announced after Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa's visit to New Delhi on January 30.
Speaking to reporters, Vishwanath said, "Yediyurappa had told me not to contest bye-elections. But I had to try to retain my constituency. Winning and losing is a part of elections. I am asking them to make me a minister."
"I am asking them to make me a minister. I am not asking them to make me the Deputy Chief Minister. Those who have lost have been made Deputy Chief Minister. Who is (Laxman) Savadi? When someone like Savadi who lost has been made Deputy Chief Minister, why are you denying me? I cannot be denied and I have suffered a loss because of you people (BJP)," Vishwanath said.
He further added that the BJP should keep its promise made to rebel leaders who paved the way for the party to take power from the HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition government in Karnataka. "Because of my seniority, experience and sacrifice I must be given a chance. Just because I lost, I should not be denied the opportunity. It is not about winning or losing but about keeping promises," he added.
The former JD(S) leader had earlier revealed that he planned to write a book about â€˜Operation Kamalaâ€™ - a moniker for the Karnataka BJPâ€™s plan of poaching leaders from the ruling party to bring down the government in a bid to clinch power. Vishwanath, who was earlier in the JD(S), resigned as the MLA of Hunasuru constituency and jumped ship to the BJP in 2019. Vishwanath had told TNM that BJP MP V Srinivas Prasad approached him with an offer of leaving the JD(S) and joining the BJP.
While 12 BJP candidates won the bye-elections to 15 constituencies in December, Vishwanath, Saravana and MTB Nagaraj were among the rebel leaders who were defeated.
Currently there are 18 Ministers, including the Chief Minister in the cabinet that has a sanctioned strength of 34. Sixteen positions in the cabinet are vacant. In all, 17 leaders from the Congress and JD(S) jumped ship and helped the BJP form the state government in Karnataka.