In what is being seen in some political quarters as a setback to former Karnataka chief minister B S Yediyurappa, the Bharatiya Janata Party central leadership on Tuesday denied MLC tickets to his son B Y Vijayendra and a loyalist.
Ignoring the recommendation of the state unit to field Vijayendra for the June 3 biennial election to seven seats of the Karnataka legislative council, the party central leadership on Tuesday announced the names of four candidates, hours before the deadline for filing of nominations ended on Tuesday.
The candidates announced by the BJP central leadership are: former deputy chief minister and party vice-president Laxman Savadi; the party's state secretaries Hemalatha Nayak and and S Keshavaprasad; and president of SC Morcha, Chalavadi Narayanaswamy.
The party also fielded Janata Dal-Secular veteran Basavaraj Horatti, who recently resigned as the chairman of the Karnataka legislative council and MLC and joined the party, as the candidate for the upcoming MLC polls from West Teachers' constituency, for which polling is scheduled on June 13.
Yediyurappa's loyalist Mohan Limbikai was a key aspirant for a BJP ticket to the seat, but was overlooked.
The state BJP core committee had earlier recommended Vijayendra's name to the central leadership as one of the probable candidates.
With the party deciding against fielding him as candidate, Vijayendra issued an appeal and said power and position itself are not the ultimate objectives in politics.
Asking his supporters and well-wishers to abide by the party's decision, he also appealed against making any unnecessary comments on social media and elsewhere, following this decision, stating that it will not only damage the reputation of the party but also hurt the sentiments of Yediyurappa and himself.
He also recalled that his father has dedicated his life to building and strengthening the party in Karnataka from the grassroots.
Yediyurappa also tweeted congratulating the candidates announced by the central leadership.
According to party sources, the leadership decided against giving ticket to Vijayendra as it wants to field him as a candidate during the 2023 assembly elections, and is likely to give him a greater role in the party ahead of the polls, as a placatory move.
Earlier too there were reports that Vijayendra might be fielded to contest the 2023 assembly polls from one of the seats in the old Mysuru (south Karnataka) region, where the party is considered weak. He too had recently stated that he is interested in working in the region, if the party so decides.
"We (state core committee) had recommended Vijayendra's name unanimously; as he has various opportunities, the high command might have taken this decision after considering various factors. He is now the state vice president and has to play many roles," BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel told reporters in Bengaluru.
Averring that four names have been announced by the central leadership from the list of 20 people recommended by the state core committee, he said, "All the four of them are members of my team."
Rejecting talks that a delay in announcement of candidates was due to some confusion in the party regarding Vijayendra's candidature, Kateel said national leaders had to meet and finalise.
There were some reports that Yediyurappa had desired to make his son an MLC and then insisted on making him a minister in the Basavaraj Bommai cabinet.
There have been such demands from his supporters after Yediyurappa stepped down as chief minister in July last year.
The central leadership is also said to have decided against Vijayendra's candidature, as it will weaken the BJP's stand against dynastic politics, ahead of the 2023 assembly polls, as Yediyurappa is currently an MLA from Shikaripura assembly seat while his elder son B Y Ragahavendra is the Shivamogga MP.
Vijayendra was appointed as the party vice president in July 2020. Before that he was appointed as BJP youth wing general secretary soon after he was denied a party ticket to contest from Varuna constituency in Mysuru, ahead of the May 2018 assembly polls.
His stakes increased in the party as he was credited by many to have played a key role in the BJP's first ever victory in K R Pet and Sira assembly segments during the by-polls held in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
With Tuesday being the last day to file nominations for the June 3 polls to seven seats to be elected by MLAs, all the four BJP candidates, as also the JD-S's T A Saravana, and Congress's M Nagaraju Yadav and K Abdul Jabbar filed their nominations.
With all the three major political parties fielding candidates only to the number of seats they can win, it is most likely to be a unanimous election, if there are no independents in the fray, sources said.
The election is necessitated as the term of office of seven members expires on June 14.
The seats will be falling vacant due to the retirement of MLCs Laxman Savadi and Lahar Singh Siroya of BJP; Ramappa Timmapur, Allum Veerabhadrappa, and Veena Achaiah S of the Congress; and H M Ramesha Gowda and Narayana Swamy K V of the JD-S.
According to official sources, in this election, each MLC candidate will require a minimum of 29 votes to win, and on the basis of minimum votes required and tallying it with the strength of each party in the legislative assembly, the BJP is expected to win four seats, Congress two, and JD-S one.