The former Deputy Chief Minister in the then BJP government Laxman Savadi resigned from the party to join the Congress last year, a few days before Jagadish Shettar did. And, now, there is speculation that with the return of Mr. Shettar to the BJP, Mr. Savadi may also go back home.
The former MP and BJP leader Ramesh Katti told reporters in Belagavi on Monday that the party has initiated the process.
“The high command has formed a team to bring Mr. Savadi back home and I am in it. I am involved in the process of trying to get Mr. Savadi re-join the BJP. Senior leaders are in constant touch with me. I have already held some meetings with senior leaders,” he said.
Mr. Savadi, however, denied outright any such plans.
It was then perceived that Mr. Savadi quit the BJP due to the quick rise of Ramesh Jarkiholi, a new entrant in the party.
The political rivalry between Mr. Savadi and Ramesh Jarkiholi goes back by decades, when both began their innings in public life from the District Central Cooperative Bank.
Mr. Savadi has earlier openly complained of Ramesh Jarkiholi aligning with other powerful Sahukar families of the district, including the Kattis, to defeat him in the DCC Bank polls.
Mr. Savadi is also upset that senior leaders in the BJP sided with Ramesh Jarkiholi in the distribution of ticket in the 2023 polls. Reportedly, the BJP nominated four candidates on Ramesh Jarkiholi’s recommendation, all of whom lost.
Once Mr. Savadi became the Congress candidate, Ramesh Jarkiholi led a vitriolic campaign against him. Ramesh Jarkiholi campaigned for his supporter Mahesh Kumthalli who had defected to the BJP along with him. Ramesh Jarkiholi spent days holding rallies in Athani, Mr. Savadi’s constituency.
He told a crowd in a rally in Athani that he will not only defeat Mr. Savadi, but also ensure that he loses his wealth and position and will be forced to become a worker in the sugarcane fields.
Those close to Mr. Savadi say he will not leave the Congress. “It was easy in the case of Mr. Shettar who was an MLC. But Mr. Savadi is an MLA and if he resigns, he will have to fight a bypoll. He is wary that Ramesh Jarkiholi will not make it easy for him to win the bypolls. Secondly, Mr. Savadi is an astute politician who will try to fill the Ganiga Lingayat leadership vacuum in the Congress. He is not likely to re-join the BJP,” said a loyalist.
BJP insiders are hopeful that Mr. Savadi will return very soon. He is not fitting into the Congress mould. He will feel comfortable only in the BJP and that is where he will fight the next elections from.
It is possible that he will campaign for the BJP in the coming Lok Sabha polls, said a senior functionary who is supposedly in touch with Mr. Savadi.
“Unlike Mr. Shettar, Mr. Savadi has never been critical of the party he left. Neither Mr. Savadi nor his politically active sons have ever accused the BJP of anything wrong. That is a sign that they are ready to come back to the BJP,” said the leader.