Bengaluru: The Ruling BJP in Karnataka on Thursday expelled from its primary membership rebels Sharath Bachegowda and Kaviraj Urs, contesting the coming Assembly bypolls as independent candidates, for anti-party activity.
In separate letters to Bachegowda fighting from Hoskote Assembly constituency and Urs from Vijayanagara, the BJP said their contest against the party's official candidate was being considered anti-party activity.
The BJP on Wednesday had asked the party rebels to withdraw their candidature by Thursday, the last day for the process. As the two did not withdraw, the party sent the letters, a copy of which has been released to the media.
After the BJP gave the Hoskote ticket to disqualified Congress legislator MTB Nagaraj, Bachegowda jumped into the fray as an independent. The JD(S) has decided to support him and has not fielded a candidate.
Son of BJP MP from Chikkaballapura BN Bachegowda, he had remained adamant on contesting, with repeated attempts by the party leadership to persuade him to back out in vain.
Bachegowda, who was also secretary of BJP Yuva Morcha, had earlier been appointed chairman of Karnataka Housing Board by Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa in an attempt to "pacify" him. Yediyurappa had recently indicated the party has even decided to expel Bachegowda if the latter doesn't withdraw from the contest.
Nagaraj as Congress candidate had defeated Bachegowda in the 2018 Assembly polls by over 7,000 votes.
Urs has filed his nomination as an independent candidate from Vijayanagara, rebelling against the BJP's decision to field Anand Singh, another disqualified MLA. The decision to expel Urs comes after repeated attempts to "pacify" him.
With winning at least six seats crucial for the government's survival, the BJP has fielded 13 of the 16 disqualified legislators who joined the party as its candidates from their respective constituencies in the bypolls.
Among the 15 constituencies going to polls, 12 were held by the Congress and three by the JD(S), whose coalition government collapsed due to rebellion by the disqualified MLAs. The Congress and JDS, contesting the bypolls on their own, have vowed to defeat the defectors (the disqualified MLAs) and said people would teach them a lesson.