Former Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, who switched back to the BJP from the Congress yesterday, on Friday refuted claims that BJP promised him a ticket for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. The INDIA alliance, comprising his previous party Congress, will not work in Karnataka, he asserted in an exclusive interview with NDTV.
“There was an insistence from BJP workers in Karnataka and state leadership. Even national leadership welcomed me to the party. This is my house. We built the party. Coming back with the wishes of the Karnataka BJP cadre,” he said on switching loyalty.
Mr Shettar said he joined BJP unconditionally, denying Congress claims that his move was prompted by the BJP promising him a Lok Sabha election ticket,
“At yesterday’s discussion with the national leadership, I did not put any condition on them. I joined the BJP unconditionally,” he said.
Mr Shettar, a Lingayat politician, had walked out of the BJP less than a year ago claiming “ill treatment”. But that time has gone, he said.
“That time – 2023 assembly election – has gone. Some realisation has happened. Some developments happened. That’s why the BJP workers and state leadership insisted. So I decided to come back,” he said.
However, he refused to blame anyone over his latest flip-flop.
On Congress stating he has broken their trust, he said, “I am not blaming anyone. When I joined Congress, a new atmosphere was created. My entry helped them gain more seats in north Karnataka. It is a known fact.”
Mr Shettar yesterday said he was joining the party with the belief that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will come back for a third term.
The six-time MLA had joined the Congress days before the 2023 Karnataka assembly election, in which he lost to the BJP. His return yesterday was signed off by Home Minister Amit Shah and took place in Delhi in the presence of former Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa.