Only those who do ‘Chamchagiri’ get ticket in today’s BJP, says Raghupathi Bhat


Team Udayavani, May 15, 2024, 9:52 AM IST

Udupi: Former Udupi MLA K. Raghupathi Bhat has voiced his frustration with the current state of the BJP, claiming that the party no longer values local leaders and activists. Bhat, who did not receive a BJP ticket for the South West Graduate Constituency of the Vidhan Parishad, is now running as an independent candidate.

Here is his interview with Udayavani’s ‘Nera Nera’ column.

Legislative Council elections are different from other elections. How will you cope?

I have always worked in education, even as an MLA. Education is my interest. When I first became MLA in 2004, Dr. V.S. Acharya said education, health, infrastructure, and social justice should be priorities. Contesting the Legislative Council elections is new for me, but I believe educated voters will think and vote wisely. So, I am confident I will win.

Did you work with the expectation of a post in the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections?

I had no expectations. It was sad to miss the ticket in the Assembly election because the party leaders’ attitude was not right. I felt unfairly treated due to social justice issues. In the past, tickets were given to party workers, but now workers are not considered, and seniority is not respected. Recently, tickets were given based on caste. That’s why I rebelled.

Is this a rebellion or conflict against BJP?

I am not against the party. Activists in places like Karavali, Shivamogga, and Chikkamagaluru are upset with the party’s wrong decisions. We must write letters to voters and contact workers booth by booth.

What message are you trying to convey?

The party’s mistakes should be corrected. It’s not right to assume someone will win just by giving a list. I have worked as an MLA three times and still can’t meet the party’s National President today. Some things can be learned from Arun Puthila’s move in Puttur. After winning, the party will respect me. I won’t go against the party. Internal issues need fixing.

Is the purpose to send a message to the politics of the coastal region?

Yes. In the last Assembly elections, we won all five seats (in the coast) even when four (candidates) were changed. BJP lost due to the rebellion in Puttur. It’s not good to ‘take activists for granted’. Imposing decisions from above is not good. A BJP person winning with the support of BJP workers will send a clear message.

Eshwarappa then, now you. Why is it so?

Earlier, there were internal discussions and meetings with the Parivar at the district level during ticket distribution. Now, there is no such discussion. The process of involving activists and local leaders has stopped. I am contesting to make the high command realize that this is not right.

Do you think loyalists are being neglected in the BJP?

That’s the problem. Those who support the party and Hindutva are not recognized. This is evident from the ticket distribution for recent elections. Those who marched with communists when our activist Harsha was killed in Shivamogga, have joined the BJP and have been given tickets. This shows a lack of respect for senior workers.

So, should the BJP leadership change?

The way of working should change. We used to collect opinions from the grassroots level for candidate selection. Now, there is no such system. A high-command culture where everything comes from above is not good. The previous system should return.

Have you prepared the platform for political move? Wouldn’t persuading the party or the candidate work?

A: I cannot stay idle. Work has started based on the promise of state leaders. Politics based on leaders and high command is not good. Those with godfathers and those involved in “chamchagiri” get tickets. Activists should get a chance. Sunil Kumar and others tried to persuade me. I asked for tickets using my power and mentioned some internal issues of the party.

Shouldn’t you give a chance to newcomers?

Fresh faces should get a chance, but not those who joined recently. Those who have been working for at least 10 years should get a chance.

Do RSS leaders and Sangh Parviar leaders agree with your decision?

My actions are befitting of a Swayamsevak. I will continue to work for Hindutva. I don’t know how they will react.

Isn’t this like saying everything is fine when given a ticket, but rebellion when not?

Politics is like that. It’s natural to feel pain when you don’t get a ticket. When seniors in the party get a ticket there is no discontent. This is not the case now. So, my decision is not hurried.

Is political power permanent?

Definitely not. People can compete until they are rejected. Even when I missed the ticket in 2013 and 2023, I worked for the party candidate. Now, the voters will decide.

Who promised you the ticket? Who was behind denying it?

When Ayanur Manjunath left the party, I expressed my desire for the position. State leaders agreed, but my name was dropped at the last moment. The former (BJP) state president, chief minister, and ministers agreed (to the proposal) but I didn’t get a ticket. This time, I might become a member of the Vidhan Parishad as an independent candidate. Party workers who support me are my pillar of support.   38,000 have been registered in the two coastal districts. My victory is easy against three Lingayat community members of Shimoga city.

Translated from Kannada article by Raju Kharvi Koderi, Udayavani

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