Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee
Former Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, a senior BJP leader, has joined the Congress party ahead of the May 10 Assembly elections in the state. This move came after Shettar resigned as the Hubli-Dharwad (Central) MLA following the BJP’s decision to deny him a ticket to contest the Assembly polls. He is now the second top leader of the Lingayat community after BJP’s B.S. Yeddyurappa to join the Congress.
A few minutes after Shettar’s induction, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President D.K. Shivakumar handed over the ‘B’ form to him to contest the elections from Hubballi-Dharwad Central constituency. This sudden development has surprised many people as it is not common to see senior leaders defecting to the opposition party. However, the move can be seen as a strategy to strengthen the Congress party’s position in the upcoming elections.
Shettar’s joining the Congress has also raised concerns among the BJP leaders, especially Yeddyurappa, who is known as the Lingayat strongman. Yeddyurappa has criticized Shettar and former Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Sangappa Savadi for their decision to join the Congress. Both leaders belong to the Lingayat community and hail from Kittur in Karnataka.
The Lingayat community is one of the dominant communities in Karnataka, and both the BJP and Congress parties have been vying for their support in the upcoming elections. With Shettar’s joining the Congress, the party is expected to strengthen its position among the Lingayats, who have traditionally supported the BJP.
Defection or joining from the parent party to another party due to grievances is now part and parcel of democracy. However, it remains to be seen whether Shettar’s decision to join the Congress will pay off for him and the party in the long run.
The Congress party has expressed its eagerness to earn the Lingayat community’s votes, and the result will be known on May 13. The party’s decision to field Shettar from Hubballi-Dharwad Central constituency shows its confidence in his ability to secure the Lingayat community’s support.
It is also worth noting that Shettar’s move has come at a time when the BJP is facing criticism for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state. The Congress party has been quick to capitalize on the situation, and Shettar’s induction is expected to further boost the party’s prospects in the upcoming elections.
Shettar’s decision to join the Congress has sent shockwaves through the political circles in Karnataka. His move is expected to have a significant impact on the Lingayat community’s voting patterns, and the Congress party is hoping to capitalize on it to win the upcoming elections. The BJP, on the other hand, is facing criticism for its handling of the pandemic, and it remains to be seen how this will play out in the elections. Whatever the outcome, the upcoming elections in Karnataka are likely to be closely watched by political observers across the country.
Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee