Bangalore: Karnataka's ruling BJP Monday launched its campaign for the May 5
assembly polls with a huge rally where party president Rajnath
Singh asserted there was no place in the party for people
indulging in corruption.
Coinciding with the rally, the party suspended its two Lok Sabha
members from the state, B.Y. Raghavendra, son of former BJP leader
B.S. Yeddyurappa, and Shivakumar Udasi, son of former BJP minister
C.M. Udasi, for anti-party activities.
Raghavenda, MP from Shimoga in central Karnataka, and Shivakumar,
who represents Haveri in north Karnataka, have been openly working
for the Karantaka Janata Party (KJP) headed by Yeddyurappa.
Yeddyurappa quit the BJP in November last year and became the
founder-president of the KJP in December. Udasi senior
subsequently quit the Jagadish Shettar ministry and the BJP to
join the KJP.
Rajnath Singh, who addressed the rally through video-conferencing
facility from New Delhi, acknowledged that Yeddyurappa's leaving
the party had created difficulties for it.
He, however, noted that the party had little option but to remove
him from the chief minister's post following allegation of
Yeddyurappa, BJP's first chief minister in Karnataka, was forced
out of office in July 2011 over mining bribery charges.
Rajnath Singh sought to scotch speculation that senior party
leader L.K. Advani and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi were
reluctant to campaign for the party in Karnataka in view of the
corruption scandals, infighting and desertions to Yeddyurappa's
He said the two would campaign in the state.
Rajnath Singh and leaders of the opposition in the Lok Sabha and
the Rajya Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley respectively could
not attend the rally as the aircraft in which they were to fly to
Bangalore developed snag a few minutes after taking off from New
Delhi and had to return to the airport.
The rally was addressed by Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, state
BJP president Pralhad Joshi, party general secretary and Bangalore
South Lok Sabha member H.N. Ananth Kumar and several state party
The BJP has declared Shettar as its chief ministerial candidate.