‘I will campaign for Shiroor seer if he gets BJP ticket’

9:55 AM, Tuesday, March 13th, 2018
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compaignMangaluru: K. Raghupati Bhat, former MLA and BJP leader, said on Monday that he would campaign if the party gave ticket to Lakshmivara Tirtha Swami of Shiroor Mutt to contest from Udupi.

Speaking to presspersons here, Mr. Bhat, who is an aspirant for BJP ticket from the constituency, said senior party leaders were already holding talks with the Shiroor seer after he announced on March 10 that he would like to contest as a BJP candidate/ with support from the BJP/ as an independent. “But contesting elections is the personal decision of the seer,” he said.

On whether the BJP had decided to give ticket to the Shiroor seer, Mr. Bhat said it would be difficult for the party to give ticket to someone who suddenly made an entry at the last minute. “The party goes by surveys. But it can give ticket (to the seer).”

The seer had said that Minister for Fisheries, Youth Empowerment and Sports Pramod Madhwaraj had done a good job as an MLA. “I suspect that the seer has given the statement to help Mr. Madhwraj in the polls. It appears that he indirectly wants to help Mr. Madhwaraj,” he said.

On the Shiroor seer not being in the picture when the BJP conducted surveys in Udupi constituency, Mr. Bhat said three surveys have been conducted. “But who am I to say that the Shiroor seer should not be given the ticket? The ticket distribution is done by the party high command and BJP president Amit Shah,” he said.

Asked if he suspected Mr. Madhwaraj was behind the seer’s statement, Mr. Bhat said: “I suspect that.” Asked why other aspirants for BJP ticket might not be behind the seer’s statements, Mr. Bhat said he did not suspect them. “If the seer feels that Mr. Madhwaraj has done good work, he should help him and not stand against him.”

On the seer’s statement that no development work had taken place during Mr. Bhat’s tenure as MLA and that there was corruption in the local BJP unit, Mr. Bhat said people knew “where corruption was taking place”.

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