Over the last six months, Udupi-Chikkamagaluru BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje has been actively campaigning for the party in the coastal districts of Karnataka.
Now, the parliamentarian is aspiring to contest from Yeshvanthpur constituency in Bengaluru, BJP sources say.
“Shobha Karandlaje has major aspirations to become BS Yeddyurappa’s successor. She has successfully managed to get into his inner circle and is aspiring to contest this time for the Assembly segment as she wants to establish herself in state politics in a big way. She also has major aspirations to become Chief Minister,” the BJP source added.
However, saffron party insiders say that Shobha’s aspiration to contest this time may not come to fruition.
“Shobha is a junior compared to other leaders like Anantkumar Hegde, Sadananda Gowda and Jagadish Shettar. They will never let this happen. She is lobbying to contest from Yeshvanthpur and since she is a close associate of Yeddyurappa, he may favour her, but the high command will take the opinions of other leaders and she may not get the ticket,” the source said.
Shobha joined the RSS at a very young age and is also one of the few full-time women workers the Sangh Parivar had in Karnataka.
Sources in the BJP say that she rose to prominence as she had the backing of the RSS from the very beginning. “She was made the party general secretary and soon she became a trusted confidante of Yeddyurappa. This had angered a lot of senior leaders who had been sidelined. But her strong RSS backing shielded her at the time,” the source added.
The Udupi-Chikkamagaluru MP had also courted controversy in the past when she was given a ministerial portfolio in the Yeddyurappa government.
She was the Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj between 2008 and 2009. She was later offered the Energy portfolio and served the Energy Department between 2010 and 2013. She was also assigned an additional portfolio of the Department of Food and Civil Supplies between 2010 and 2012.
“In 2008, there were many party leaders who had opposed Shobha’s nomination as the candidate from Yeshvanthpur back in 2008 itself, but Yeddyurappa went ahead and nominated her. Shobha is banking on this to win a ticket this time around as well. However, senior party leaders have advised all MPs not to vocalise their aspirations to the media for now,” the source added.