Bengaluru: Reacting to calls given by Union Home Minister Amit Shah and former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa to ensure his defeat, ex-Karnataka CM Jagadish Shettar who switched to Congress from BJP said on Wednesday that he was unable to comprehend “why an ordinary leader like him is being targetted”.
Addressing reporters, Shettar, who is contesting from Hubli-Dharwad Central constituency as a Congress candidate, said: “I am ‘badapayi’ (poor thing) Shettar. But the BJP is carrying out a campaign against me to ensure my defeat. Finally, the decision will be made in the people’s court on May 10.”
“One Lingayat leader is being pitted against another Lingayat leader in the state. The shots are fired from another’s shoulder. Union Minister Pralhad Joshi was involved in the politics surrounding the allotment of tickets. He had given tickets to new comers and candidates with criminal antecedents,” he said.
“Hubballi-Dharwad constituency is not confined to Hubballi. It has become the central seat of state politics. It is being discussed at the national level. Union Home Minister Amit Shah had come to Hubballi and gave calls to defeat Jagadish Shettar,” he said.
Shettar further said that veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yediyurappa had convened a meeting of senior leaders and made it a point to defeat him at any cost.
“Why BJP set a goal to ensure my defeat I don’t know, I am a humble man,” Shettar said.
“I am not the only person to exit from BJP. Like me, Ayanuru Manjunath, Laxman Savadi, N.R. Santhosh and many have left BJP and joined the Congress. All are questioning me as If I have committed a serious crime,” he said.
He also asserted that he has not done any injustice to the BJP.
“If Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had spoken to me earlier, the situation would not have gotten out of hand. After the development, the high command and Union Minister Pralhad Joshi said that they would make me a Rajya Sabha member.
“I did not give value to it and joined the Congress. The principles and ideology of the party had gone (away) when Operation Lotus was carried out to form the government. BJP does not have the moral right to talk about me,” he said.
Taking a dig at Yediyurappa, he said the former Karnataka chief minister had broken with the BJP to form the Karnataka Janata Paksha.
“Where were his principles then?” Shettar questioned.
“Yediyurappa had spoken about getting a ticket for me and he had told me that the party would suffer damages if I was denied a ticket. He is now in a helpless condition. His criticisms are a blessing for me. His attacks on me will turn out to be steps towards my victory,” he added.