Karnataka elections: Former CM Jagadish Shettar joins Congress

A day after he quit the BJP for denying him a ticket to the Karnataka Assembly elections, former state chief minister Jagadish Shettar joined the Congress on Monday. 

Shettar was inducted into the Congress by party president Mallikarjun Kharge at the party office in Bengaluru. KPCC president D K Shivakumar and Congress leaders Randeep Surjewala and Siddaramaiah were present on the occasion.

Shettar held meetings with senior Congress leaders on Sunday evening regarding his entry to the party. 

The six-time Hubballi-Dharwad Central MLA resigned from the Assembly on Sunday after his talks with Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Union Ministers Pralhad Joshi and Dharmendra Pradhan on Saturday failed.

“Yesterday I left BJP and today I joined the Congress party. Many are surprised as an opposition leader, former CM and party president is joining Congress. BJP has given me every position and being a party worker I always worked for the party’s growth,” said Jagadish Shettar after joining the Congress on Monday. 

“I thought being a senior leader, I’ll get the ticket, but when I came to know that I’m not getting it, I was shocked. No one spoke to me nor tried to convince me, not even gave assurance about what position will I get,” he added.

Shettar acknowledged that BJP had given him a good position and respect. “I agree that BJP had given me a good position and respect and in return even I have worked for the party. In the Hubli central constituency, I have won 6 times with a 25,000 votes margin, but I was hurt when they denied me a ticket,” he added.

The Congress may field Shettar from Hubballi-Dharwad Central. 

On Sunday, Shettar flew from Hubballi to Bengaluru in a special helicopter to meet Congress general secretary (Karnataka in-charge) Randeep Singh Surjewala, Congress state chief D K Shivakumar, former minister M B Patil and veteran Congress leader Shamanur Shivashankarappa, reported PTI.

Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala too said that Jagadish Shettar was humiliated and BJP has crumbled like a house of cards.

Surjewala took to Twitter and said, “Humiliate, Insult, Throw away! This is how Modi-Bommai disgrace…. A Former Chief Minister, A Leader of Opposition, A six times BJP MLA, A Senior Most BJP Lingayat Leader! BJP’s CHAL, CHEHRA & CHARITRA! BJP has crumbled like a House of Cards,” he said.

Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai expressed disappointment at Shettar quitting the party, adding that BJP chief Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah had promised Shettar a big post in Delhi. “Jagadish Shettar has been a senior and an important leader in this region. JP Nadda and Union Home Minister had promised a big post in Delhi to Shettar. Everything would have been fine if the former CM had continued,” Basavaraj Bommai told media in Hubballi.

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