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'In future, nobody will join BJP if they treat us like this'

By A GANESH NADAR
August 10, 2021 10:01 IST
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'Modiji and Amit Shahji should see my work.'
'Everybody gives me a lot of respect.'
'National leaders should see that.'

IMAGE: Then Independent MLA R Shankar submits his resignation as a minister to then Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala at the Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru, July 9, 2019. Photograph: PTI Photo

After B S Yediyurappa resigned as Karnataka chief minister last month, Basavaraj Bommai -- who joined the Bharatiya Janata Party from the Janata Dal-United in 2008 -- was selected as BSY's successor by the BJP high command in New Delhi.

The ministers in Bommai's ministry were also selected by the BJP high command. A few members of the Yediyurappa cabinet did not find a place in the Bommai ministry.

One minister left out is R Shankar, who was elected to the Karnataka assembly in 2018 as a member of the Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party, but later joined the BJP.

Shankar, now a BJP member of the Karnataka legislative council, was minister for horticulture and sericulture in the Yediyurappa government.

He is very upset at his omission, but is still hopeful that he will be invited to be a part of the Bommai ministry.

"I helped them form the government. They were sitting in the Opposition," R Shankar tells Rediff.com's A Ganesh Nadar.

 

Why are you upset with Mr Bommai for not being made a minister? You know that the list of ministers was decided by the BJP leadership in Delhi. You should be angry with them.

I was a minister. Yediyurappa ji invited me for a meeting and told me that I would be a minister in two days. I was an Independent MLA. I joined the BJP and became an MLC.

Even in my constituency, people said I will be a minister. There are four posts vacant. I think it will be done. I will become a minister.

How was your relationship with Mr Bommai when you both served as ministers in the Yediyurappa government?

Mr Bommai and I belong to the same district. I don't know why he is doing this. My constituency people are asking me why I am silent. I am hoping that I will be inducted into the ministry as there are four vacancies. After that I will ask him.

You were an Independent MLA. Are you feeling cheated that you have not been made a minister after joining the BJP?

This is not the time to reply to this question.

What was the reason for you joining the BJP?

There was a (Janata Dal-Secular-Congress) coalition in Karnataka. I joined the BJP because I thought that they will give a stable government. I can also help develop the state by providing good governance.

That is why I joined the BJP.

Do you think Mr Bommai will complete his term? Or do you think he will be replaced by another BJP leader before the next assembly elections?

I am not going to talk about the future. I am praying for a good government. I will also help to provide good governance. Everybody gives me a lot of respect. National leaders should see that.

Prime Minister Narendra Modiji and Home Minister Amit Shahji should see my work. In future, nobody will join the party if they treat us like this. I helped them form the government. They were sitting in the Opposition.

They should take me in the cabinet. I am requesting the chief minister and the high command.

IMAGE: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai.

Do you think Mr Bommai is the right person to lead the BJP in the next election?

Do not ask me about the future and about other people. Ask me questions about me.

Do you think the Congress can return to power in the next election?

I am refusing to comment on this. Whoever works for the people will come to power. If the BJP does good work, it will come to power.

Are you going to remain in the BJP or are you planning to join any other party?

I am in the BJP. I am not an Independent to be thinking on such lines.

What are your future plans?

I have to look after my constituency. I will work for the poor in my constituency. Once I become a minister I will work for the whole state in whichever ministry I am given.

I have done well in my ministry last time. I have done a lot in sericulture for the farming community.

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/Rediff.com

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