Revenue Minister R. Ashok was greeted with “Go Back Ashok” posters in Mandya on Thursday as he visited the district to unfurl the tricolour on Republic Day. He was appointed as the district in-charge Minister replacing K. Gopalaiah.
While who put up those posters remains a mystery, discontentment has been brewing within the party in Mandya over Mr. Ashok replacing Mr. Gopalaiah. Siddaramaiah, who contested the Lok Sabha byelections from the district on a BJP ticket in 2018, openly expressed his displeasure on the issue.
“BJP leader Amit Shah has clearly said there will be no ‘adjustment politics’ with the JD(S). There is unhappiness over the decision and we will do whatever is required at the party level. We will ensure the interests of party workers,” he said, taking potshots at Mr. Ashok.
‘Instigated by other parties’
Mr. Ashok hit back at Dr. Siddaramaiah and said he had never done “any adjustment politics” and it was out of the question. “Party workers in the district are happy with my appointment and we had a meeting too. Some people seem to be instigated by other parties as they fear that when I am in-charge BJP will perform better and upset their designs,” he said. The saffron party is keen on improving its footprints in Mandya and others parts of Old Mysore region.
Sources in the party said that Mr. Gopalaiah, a former JD(S) leader, had been in-charge of both Hassan and Mandya, key districts of the Vokkaliga heartland, and Mr. Ashok had been without an in-charge district for a long time. While his repeated appeals to give him Bengaluru Development portfolio had not borne fruit due to a strong contest by C.N. Ashwath Narayan, he was made in-charge of Mandya by the Chief Minister. However, Mr. Ashok’s appointment seems to have triggered the same contest in the heartland too, party sources said.
Meanwhile, sources said Mr. Gopalaiah had good relations with the JD(S) whose “cooperation” was crucial in both Hassan and Mandya, where the regional party has most of its MLAs and a change of guard in Mandya could have upset local JD(S) leaders as well, sources said.
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