Ruling BJP in Karnataka on Thursday expelled from its primary membership rebels Sharath Bachegowda and Kaviraj Urs, contesting the coming assembly bypolls as independent candidates, for anti-party activity.
In separate letters to both Sharath Bachegowda fighting from Hoskote assembly constituency and Urs from Vijayanagara, BJP said, their contest against the partys official candidate was being considered as anti-party activity.
BJP on Wednesday had asked the party rebels to withdraw their candidature by Thursday, the last day for the process.
As the two did not withdraw their candidature, the sent the letters, a copy of which has been released to the media.
After the BJP gave the Hoskote ticket to disqualified Congress legislator M T B Nagaraj, Sharath Bachegowda has jumped into the fray as an independent.
JD(S) has decided to support him and has not fielded a candidate.
Son of BJP MP from Chikkaballapura B N Bachegowda, he had remained adamant on contesting with repeated attempts by the party leadership to persuade him to back out in vain.
Sharath Bachegowda, who was also secretary of BJP Yuva Morcha, had earlier been appointed Chairman of Karnataka Housing Board by Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa in an attempt to “pacify” him.
Yediyurappa had recently indicated the party has even decided to expel him, if he doesn’t withdraw from the contest.
Nagaraj as Congress candidate had defeated Sharath Bachegowda in 2018 assembly polls by over 7,000 votes.
Urs has filed his nomination as independent candidate from Vijayanagara, rebelling against the BJPs decision to field Anand Singh, another disqualified MLA. The partys decision to expel Urs comes after repeated attempts to “pacify” him.
With winning at least six seats crucial for the government’s survival, BJP has fielded 13 of the 16 disqualified legislators, who joined the party, as its candidates from their respective constituencies in the bypolls.
Among the 15 constituencies going to bypolls, 12 were held by Congress and three by JD(S), whose coalition government collapsed due to rebellion by the disqualified MLAs. The Congress and JDS, contesting the bypolls on their own, have vowed to defeat the defectors (the disqualified MLAs) and said people would teach them a lesson.