BJP to expel rebel leader contesting bypoll as independent

Bengaluru, Nov 18 (PTI) Cracking down on rebellion overticket distribution for coming bypolls, the ruling BJP inKarnataka has decided to expel rebel Sharath Bachegowda whohas jumped into the fray as an independent in Hoskote.

Announcing this, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappaon Mondayalso indicated action against Sharath Bachegowda's father andBJP MP from Chikkaballapura B N Bachegowda, who has beenkeeping away from campaign for the December 5 bypolls for 15assembly constituencies.

'It has already been decided (on expelling Sharath),there is no question of him remaining in the party,' he said.

Yediyurappa said disqualified Congress MLA MTB Nagaraj,who has joined BJP, had been given the ticket for Hoskote onlyafter taking Sharath and his father into confidence.

Speaking to reporters in Hoskote after campaigning forNagaraj, he hinted at action against Sharath's father B NBachegowda also.

'We will bring to the notice of the central leadershipthe political developments here,' he said adding a watch wasbeing kept on the MP's activities.

Sharath has filed his nomination as an independentcandidate after the party denied him ticket and fieldedNagaraj.

JD(S) has decided to support Sharath, who lost toNagaraj in 2018 assembly elections, and said it would notfield its candidate in Hoskote.

The strong reaction against Sharath came as it becameclear he would not withdraw and his father keeping away fromcampaigning for BJP's official nominee despite being a partyMP.

The chief minister said he had spoken to the two beforegiving ticket to Nagaraj and accused them of 'betrayal.' 'People should teach a lesson to those who betray. Atleast now the Member of Parliament should advise his son andask him to withdraw,' Yediyurappa said.

Sharath, who is also secretary of BJP Yuva Morcha, hadearlier been appointed Chairman of Karnataka Housing Board bythe Chief Minister in an attempt to pacify him.

Calling Nagraj a 'honest politician,' Yediyurappa saidhe came out of 'the corrupt coalition government' despitebeing a Minister with a good portfolio.

'I'm confident that Nagaraj will win with a margin ofover 25,000 votes and people will teach a lesson to thoseindulging in anti-party activities, there is no question oftaking them into the party,' he added.

Nagaraj along with 15 other disqualified MLAs ofCongress and JDS had joined the BJP on November 14, a dayafter the Supreme Court paved the way for them to contest thebypolls. Their rebellion was instrumental in the downfall of HD Kumaraswamy led Congress-JD(S) coalition government in July.

BJP has given tickets to 13 of them for the bypolls intheir respective seats, which has triggered disgruntlement insome constituencies, including Hoskote.

In Kagwad, former MLA Raju Kage has quit the BJP and hasbeen fielded by the Congress. PTI KSU SSVS VS