Bengaluru, June 9 (IANS) Playing down rejection of the names he recommended to fight the June 19 Rajya Sabha biennial elections in his state, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Tuesday said that the BJP central leadership had consulted him on the two candidates it finally selected.
“Our party's leadership discussed the names of Eranna Kadadi and Ashok Gasti with me before finalising their candidature for the Rajya Sabha elections. I compliment the leadership for selecting the party's grass-root cadres for the Upper House,” Yediyurappa told reporters here.
The Chief Minister was present when Kadadi and Gasti filed their nominations in the Vidhana Soudh (state legislative building) in the city centre along with Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi, Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi, and party's state unit President Nalin Kumar Kateel.
“Giving tickets to two ordinary workers of the party is like rewarding karyakartas (cadres). I endorsed their names when the leadership consulted me,” asserted Yediyurappa.
Though the state's core committee headed by Yediyurappa shortlisted outgoing member Prabhakar Kore, former Lok Sabha member Ramesh Katti and city hotelier Prakash Shetty on June 6, the leadership ignored them and opted for Kadadi and Gasti, which many considered as a snub to the Chief Minister.
Besides Yediyurappa and Kateel, party's national General Secretary B.L. Santosh and state Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar are members of the state's core committee.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party's national President J.P. Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah preferred grass-root workers to work for the country by serving in the Rajya Sabha.
“Shortlisting names for elections is a democratic process in the party. It's only the BJP which takes such decisions and gives opportunity to even ordinary workers to serve the country,” asserted Yediyurappa.
Kadadi, 50, hails from Gokak in the state's northwest Belagavi district. He is a strong leader of the politically dominant Lingayat community, which is the ruling party's vote bank and to which Yediyurappa too belongs.
Kadadi is the party's Belagavi Zilla Parishad President and runs a cooperative bank at Gokak in the state's north western region, about 540km from Bengaluru.
Gasti, 55, an advocate by profession, hails from the barber community and belongs to Raichur district in the state's northern region, about 490km from Bengaluru.
Gasti is the party's former Raichur Zilla Parishad President.
“Selection of cadres like Kadadi and Gasti is not for our state alone, as the party took such a decision earlier too and is applicable to other states also. I welcome it,” reiterated Yediyurappa.
Kadadi and Gasti were earlier members of the RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and worked in the organisation at the grass roots over the years and helped it in the assembly and parliamentary elections in the state.
“The selection of Kadadi and Gasti augurs well for the party as loyalty and ideology are more important than a particular leader. The party leadership is keen on nurturing and promoting second-rung leaders,” a party official said.
With 116 legislators and support of 2 Independents in the 223-member Assembly, the election of Kadadi and Kasti will be smooth as they require 44 votes each to win.