Bengaluru: Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former Karnataka deputy chief minister KS Eshwarappa on Tuesday told the party’s central leadership that he wishes to retire from electoral politics and requested it to not consider fielding him from any constituency in the Assembly polls next month. The decision of the former state unit president, who played a key role along with B S Yediyurappa in building the party in the state over the last four decades, came in the midst of the BJP finalising its list of candidates for the elections.
“I wish to voluntarily retire from electoral politics. Hence, it is my request not to consider my name for any constituency for the Assembly elections this time,” the former Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council said in a letter to BJP President J P Nadda.
Eshwarappa, who resigned as a minister last year over a corruption charge, expressed his gratitude to the seniors in the party who gave him honourable positions in his 40-year political career right from booth level to the Deputy Chief Minister.
The 74-year-old Kuruba leader, also known for his controversial statements, is a five-time MLA from Shivamogga and has served as minister holding various portfolios. Kurubas come under the OBC category in the state.
The announcement came amid speculations that the central leadership was weighing the option of denying him ticket for the polls.
There were also some reports that he had proposed the name of his son K E Kantesh for the Shivamogga seat.
Eshwarappa would turn 75 in June, the unofficial age bar in the BJP for leaders to contest polls and hold official positions. Though there have been occasional exceptions as well.
Eshwarappa quit as the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister after a contractor Santosh Patil killed himself a year ago in a hotel room in Udupi accusing him in his suicide note of demanding 40 per cent commission for awarding civil works in Belagavi.
Later, a probe by the police gave him a clean chit. He demanded a ministerial berth after he was absolved of the charges but the party did not pay heed to it.
He was associated with the RSS from the beginning and was an active member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) when he was a student of National Commerce College in Shivamogga.
Later, he along with Yediyurappa, who also hails from the Shivamogga district, and other leaders toiled hard to build the party in the State.
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