Sharath was aspiring for a BJP ticket to contest the Hoskote bye-election, after the seat fell vacant with MTB Nagaraju’s resignation along with 16 other rebels.

Denied ticket in bye-poll BJPs Sharath Bachegowda to stand as independent
news Politics Thursday, November 14, 2019 - 17:16

Rebellion in the Karnataka BJP unit took a new turn on Thursday with the party’s Yuva Morcha secretary and former candidate from the Hoskote segment filing his nomination papers as an independent. With hundreds of BJP party workers in tow, Sharath Bachegowda submitted his affidavit in Hoskote.

Sharath Bachegowda was aspiring for a BJP ticket to contest the bye-election from Hoskote, after the seat fell vacant with MTB Nagaraju’s resignation along with 16 other rebels. Sharath is the son of veteran politician and Chikkaballapura MP BN Bachegowda, who defeated former Congress Chief Minister Veerappa Moily in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Sharath began openly dissenting against the BJP in August this year, when Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and his loyalists began lobbying for the disqualified MLAs.

BN Bachegowda contested elections for the first time on a Janata New Party ticket and won the Hoskote seat in 1978. He won the elections from a Janata Party ticket in 1985, 1994 and 1999.

A strong voice against the Congress party in Karnataka, Bachegowda solidified his political career in the Janata Party. However, he quit the JD(S) and joined the BJP in 2008 after a fallout with former Prime Minister and JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda. His embittered relationship with the JD(S) stemmed from Deve Gowda’s refusal to allow Bachegowda to rise up the party’s ranks.

Bachegowda lost to Nagaraju, who had stepped in as the Congress’ face in Hoskote in 2004. Bachegowda lost to Nagaraju in 2013 as well. By defecting to the BJP, Bachegowda ensured that his son Sharath too would climb up the ranks in the BJP. Sharath went on to become the BJP Yuva Morcha secretary and began campaigning and working for his father in Hoskote soon after. In 2018, Sharath contested on a BJP ticket against Nagaraju and lost from the Hoskote segment.

The Bachegowda family has for long been arch-rivals of Nagaraju, who was once considered a loyalist of Congress leader Siddaramaiah. Bachegowda senior and Siddaramaiah were once in the JD(S) and were competitors for the top posts in the party. The two leaders have never seen eye to eye. MTB Nagaraju’s closeness to Siddaramaiah had led the Bachegowda family to consider him their rival too.

With the BJP now welcoming Nagaraju with open arms, it was a massive blow to Sharath, who decided to contest the bye-polls as an independent. Ironically, former Chief Minister and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy on Wednesday announced that the JD(S) would support Sharath in his election campaign if he would accept the party’s help.

Although Sharath is rebelling against his own party, his father – the incumbent MP from Chikkaballapura – has refused to campaign for his son. On November 2, Bachegowda told the media that his son had left home and was on his own.

“My son is not coming home. We are living separately. My son is educated and intelligent. It is his decision to contest the poll and I will not intervene. I will not solicit votes for my son,” he had said.

This set off massive speculations that the father-son duo was trying to wrest power in the region from MTB Nagaraju by playing the “divide and rule game”.

“This situation is exactly like Mandya during the Lok Sabha polls. Sumalatha wanted a Congress ticket but she contested as an independent. But Congress workers supported her. In Hoskote, Sharath wanted a BJP ticket but the party did not give it to him. He is contesting as an independent and the BJP cadre is supporting him. Although Bachegowda is saying that he won’t support his son, no one is ready to believe it,” a BJP leader said.

Congress sources say that Sharath’s rebellion would only give the party an edge in winning the Hoskote seat. The Congress has fielded Padmavati Suresh, wife of Hebbal MLA Byrathi Suresh, from Hoskote. The party has Siddaramaiah actively campaigning for Padmavati.

“The infighting will benefit us. We are happy that Sharath Bachegowda is contesting as an independent as it will split the BJP’s votes,” the Congress leader said.



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