Lingayat leader and former Karnataka chief minister Jagadish Shettar who left the BJP ahead of the Karnataka Assembly Election in 2023 as he was denied a ticket rejoined the party. On Thursday afternoon, he reached the BJP headquarters where he was welcomed back to the party in the presence of former CM BS Yediyurappa and state BJP President BY Vijayendra. While speculations were rife that Jagadish Shettar — whose association with the BJP was long and his last-minute switch ahead of the state election was rather shocking — would again make a switch, the Congress leaders said many BJP leaders were desperately trying for the return of Shettar. “This is a tell-tale sign of weakness in the party. They don’t have candidates for the upcoming general elections,” Karnataka deputy chief minister D K Shivakumar said hours before Shettar joined the BJP.
“The party gave me a lot of responsibilities in the past. Because of some issues, I went to the Congress party. In the last 8-9 months, there were a lot of discussions in the BJP. Karnataka BJP leaders and workers asked me to come back to the BJP. Yediyurappa ji and Vijayendra ji also wanted me to come back to the BJP. I am rejoining the party with the belief that Narendra Modi ji has to become the PM again,” Shettar said as he rejoined.
The BJP and the JD(S) are suffering from a serious deficit of leadership and self-confidence and hence they have joined hands. Now they are desperately trying to get Shettar back into the party fold, Shivakumar said on Wednesday.
Jagadish Shettar was made an MLC after he lost Hubli Dharwad central by big margin
Jagadish Shettar, the six-term MLA (former) from Hubli, left the BJP as he was not given a ticket from the party. After he joined the Congress, he contested from his Hubli-Central Dharwad constituency from where he lost by a huge margin to BJP’s Mahesh Tenginkai. He was made an MLC by the Congress.
When Shettar left the BJP in April 2023, he said he was humiliated by the senior leaders of the BJP and that his decision to quit the Saffron party was final. “How the BJP leaders treated me in the last few days is nothing but a humiliation. I was ill-treated by the party members which forced me to announce my resignation. Some leaders in the state are misusing the BJP system,” Shettar said at that time.
68-year-old Shettar, a staunch RSS man, served as the chief minister of Karnataka in 2012-2013 when Yediyurappa had to step away as the CM. Shettar was also the speaker of the Assembly in 2008.