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Karnataka polls: ‘Though from RSS, Jagadish Shettar is secular person,’ says Siddaramaiah

News Agencies | Updated on: 17 April 2023, 11:34 IST

After former Karnataka chief minister Jagadish Shettar joined Congress, Leader of Opposition in State Assembly Siddaramaiah on Monday said that despite coming from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Shettar is a 'secular' person.

A day after quitting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Jagadish Shettar on Monday joined Congress ahead of the upcoming state assembly elections in Karnataka.

Speaking on the occasion, Siddaramaiah said, "I welcome former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar to our party. He is known as a decent politician in Karnataka. Though he is from RSS, he is a secular person."

"I worked with him as the opposition leader and he was the opposition leader when I was CM. He was an honest party worker in BJP and always stood with the party, not for personal gain," the Congress leader added.Shettar arrived at the Congress office in Bengaluru this morning.His induction to the party took place in the presence of Congress chief MallikarjunKharge, Karnataka state Congress president DK Shivakumar and Leader of Opposition in the state assembly Siddaramaiah.Senior BJP leader Amar Singh Patil also joined Congress along with Shettar.Speaking at the occasion, Shettar said, "Yesterday I left BJP and today I joined the Congress party. Many are surprised as an opposition leader, former CM and party president is joining Congress. BJP has given me every position and being a party worker I always worked for the party's growth."

"I thought being a senior leader, I will get the ticket, but when I came to know that I am not getting it, I was shocked. No one spoke to me nor tried to convince me, not even gave assurance about what position will I get," he stated.Shettar further said, "I was contacted by DK Shivakumar, Siddaramaiah, Surjewala and MB Patil. When they invited me I came without any other option. I am joining Congress wholeheartedly.

"Congress president Kharge said, "I do not need to give more introduction about Jagadish Shettar. His joining will boost the enthusiasm of the Congress, He is the person who not only wins alone, he is a person who is capable to win more seats. Though he was in Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Jana Sangha, he is a non-controversial person. We have worked together."

"Our target was 150, now after Shettar's joining it is confirmed that we will reach the target," added the Congress chief.

Taking to Twitter, Congress MP Randeep Singh Surjewala said, "A New Chapter, A New History, A new Beginning.... Former BJP CM, Former BJP President, Former Leader of Opposition, Six times MLA, Jagadish Shettar joins the Congress family today. Karnataka Congress welcomes him.

"Notably, Karnataka State Congress in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala, Siddaramaiah and Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar met former CM Shettar in Bengaluru after he resigned from BJP on Sunday.In this regard, Jagadish Shettar took to Twitter and said, "Fed up with the political events of the past few days, I have resigned from my MLA seat and will discuss my next move with the activists. As usual, I believe that your love and blessings will always be with me".

Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala on Sunday said that Jagadish Shettar was humiliated and BJP has crumbled like a house of cards. Shettar tendered his resignation as an MLA to Karnataka Assembly Speaker, Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri, at Sirsi on Sunday.

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had mentioned that BJP president JP Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah had promised Shettar a big post in Delhi."Jagadish Shettar has been a senior and an important leader in this region. JP Nadda and Union Home Minister had promised a big post in Delhi to Shettar. Everything would have been fine if the former CM had continued," Bommai told media persons in Hubballi.

Bommai said that tickets are being denied to some candidates as opportunities are being given to the young generation. Shettar, a six-time MLA from the constituency, was reportedly advised by the party to stand down and not seek a fresh term as MLA from the Hubli-Dharwad Central segment, following which his followers expressed their anguish against the party's high command.

On Saturday after announcing his resignation Jagadish Shettar also mentioned that there was a conspiracy against him, which is why he was denied a ticket.

"There is a conspiracy against me, will tell everything after resigning," Shettar told ANI.After being left out from the BJP's candidate lists, Shettar had issued an ultimatum to the party, saying he would consider his future political course if denied a ticket from his preferred segment.

Meanwhile, former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Sunday said if Shettar comes back to BJP, the party would welcome him. The Karnataka assembly elections will be held in a single phase on May 10, with the counting of votes scheduled on May 13.

Also read: Joining Congress wholeheartedly: Jagadish Shettar

First published: 17 April 2023, 11:34 IST