BJP rebel Eshwarappa files poll nomination | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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BJP rebel Eshwarappa files poll nomination

By, Bengaluru
Apr 13, 2024 08:04 AM IST

Expressing his rationale behind contesting the Lok Sabha polls independently, Eshwarappa criticised the presence of family dominance within the BJP

Former deputy chief minister and rebel Bharatiya Janata Party leader KS Eshwarappa on Friday submitted his nomination papers as an independent candidate from Shivamogga. The development comes in the backdrop of the BJP objecting to Eshwarappa using Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photos during the campaign for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Even though the party’s leadership had said it “would initiate action against Eshwarappa if he filed the nomination”, no statements were issued by the BJP on Friday.

Independent candidate from Shivamogga constituency KS Eshwarappa files his nomination papers for Lok Sabha elections (PTI)
Independent candidate from Shivamogga constituency KS Eshwarappa files his nomination papers for Lok Sabha elections (PTI)

Expressing his rationale behind contesting the Lok Sabha polls independently, Eshwarappa criticised the presence of family dominance within the BJP. He said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi is saying that a party should not be in the hands of a family, but in Karnataka, (former chief minister) BS Yediyurappa’s son is BJP president and the other one is an MP. I am contesting to protest against it.”

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The discord started after Eshwarappa’s son KE Kanthesh was denied a ticket from Haveri. Alleging betrayal by Yediyurappa, Eshwarappa contesting against his son and BJP candidate Raghavendra is being seen as the leader’s way of retaliation, people familiar with the matter.

Eshwarappa also aims to oust BY Vijayendra, another son of Yediyurappa, from the post of Karnataka BJP chief.

Talking to the media on Friday, Eshwarappa said that around 25,000 to 30,000 people from all eight constituencies of Shivamogga came “to support him as he filed his nomination”. He added that during his campaign he would enlighten voters about the alleged injustices he faced and the purported stranglehold of the “father-son duo” over the party.

“Our supporters will do a door-to-door campaign as to why a loyal supporter of BJP is hurt and what kind of injustice the father-son did. They will go to every single house and tell the injustice served to Hindutva, and why the party is under father-son. I have confidence that the party will get purified after the elections,” said Eshwarappa.

Expressing his astonishment at the delay in the BJP’s response to his defiance, Eshwarappa hinted at stronger actions if expelled, emphasising his readiness to voice concerns more forcefully. “I don’t know why the party has not expelled me yet. I have already made it clear hundreds of times that I will be contesting. I am also waiting for them to expel me so that I can speak in stronger words,” he said.

The BJP on Wednesday had petitioned the Election Commission to bar Eshwarappa from employing PM Modi’s photographs in his campaign. A delegation of BJP leaders, led by MLC Chalavadi Narayanaswamy, submitted a petition highlighting the party’s stance that only the BJP and its affiliated allies have the prerogative to utilise Modi’s photographs.

In its complaint, the BJP said, “To our utter shock and surprise, an independent candidate from Shivamogga, KS Eshwarappa, has been misleading the public that he is contesting on behalf of Narendra Modi and BJP leaders. He portrays that he is a part of the BJP, which is incorrect.”

Meanwhile, the financial disclosures in the affidavit reveal Eshwarappa’s substantial assets, totalling over 26.63 crore, marking a significant increase from 6.41 crore during the 2018 Karnataka assembly elections. Eshwarappa was forced to resign from his cabinet post in April 2022, after a contractor died by suicide alleging that the minister had demanded bribes for clearing bills.

As per the affidavit, in a joint venture with his son KE Kantesh, Eshwarappa acquired a 4,000 sqft commercial property in Jayanagar, Bengaluru, in 2019, with a current market valuation of 7.5 crore. Additionally, a commercial property in Kumara Park was purchased in 2021, with Eshwarappa owning a 25% share valued at 3.75 crore.

While disclosing no vehicle ownership, Eshwarappa declared an annual income of 98.92 lakh for the financial year 2022-23, up from 21.99 lakh in 2016–17, alongside liabilities amounting to 5.87 crore. His spouse, Jayalakshmi, boasts assets exceeding 6.87 crore, as per the affidavit submitted.

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