Vijayapura: After the Former MLA and BJP Leader Appu Pattanshetty declaring that he would be contesting in the upcoming Assembly election even as an independent candidate if the party fails to offer him ticket, the political war is only going to turn intense.
The reason for the election battle will be fierce because the sitting BJP MLA and Appu’s bête noire, Basanagouda Patil Yatnal will leave no stone unturned not only to clinch the ticket for himself but also to deny ticket to Appu from the BJP.
It may be noted that despite Yatnal openly rebelling against the BJP, mainly it’s the then top leaders and former Chief Minister B. S. Yediyurappa, he still managed to get the ticket from the party in the last assembly polls.
Yatnal was sacked from the party twice when he went against the party and also contested against the party’s official candidate in the MLC election.
He had defeated the then BJP MLC candidate, G. S. Nyamagouda in elections for Local Bodies Constituency. Even after making critical remarks against several BJP leaders and going against the party direction, Yatnal could not only convince the party High Command to reinduct him in the party but also managed to get a ticket.
What is interesting is that the majority of the BJP’s top leaders of Vijayapura were against his reinduction and giving him a ticket.
But the party did not acknowledge their demand and gave ticket to Yatnal. He did not disappoint the party and won the election by defeating his nearest rival, Abdul Hamid Mushrif of the Congress by over 6000 votes.
During that time, Appu Pattanshetty, despite being denied ticket, made no strong comments against the party at the same time, he did not campaign for Yatnal.
Though there is an allegation against Appu that he clandestinely campaigned against Yatnal, Appu has denied the allegations.
Now, with the next Assembly elections less than a year away, Appu has already made his political plans clear that he will contest elections.
It is believed within the political circles of the BJP that it is, in a way, a do or die situation for Appu to remain relevant in the BJP and in politics.
The people close to Appu believe that if he fails to get the ticket or fails to ensure the defeat of Yatnal, then Yatnal will try his best to end Appu’s political career.
“Appu has two choices to survive in politics now. Either he should make sure that Yatnal does not get a ticket to contest from BJP, or should put every ounce of energy to ensure the defeat of Yatnal if he gets a ticket in the coming polls. It is like ‘either you or me’ situation for Appu,” said his close aides.
Some party leaders also believe that getting a ticket denied to Yatnal could be a herculean task as the party’s first choice would be Yatnal for multiple reasons. Firstly, he is a sitting MLA and second, he is a strong advocate of Hindutva which is the core line of the BJP.
Considering these strong views of the party leaders, Appu would be left with no choice but to contest in the election, either as an independent candidate or by joining some party.
Though Appu has made it clear that he has no desire of joining any other party to contest the polls, the possibility of him joining any other party could not be ruled out if he is so keen to win or defeat his bête noire in the election.
The bigger question is, which party he would prefer to join if he decides to fight the election on a party ticket. If he fails to get a ticket from the BJP, he would be left with two parties, Congress and the JD (S). His chances of getting a ticket from the Congress is slim as Mushrif who lost in the last assembly polls with a thin margin, will not allow anybody else to get the ticket.
Appu will be left with only JD (S) to look for. In all likelihood he will get the ticket from the JD (S) as the party does not have any strong candidate to field. But whether Appu would choose to contest on JD (S), the party which is already on the losing grounds in the State, is a big question.