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Opposition within BJP over Munirathna’s candidature comes to the fore

The opposition within the Bharatiya Janata Party to the party’s decision to field former MLA Munirathna as its candidate in the bypolls came to the fore on the day of his filing of nomination papers on Wednesday.

Several party workers, who called themselves “committed workers of the BJP”, publicly raised objection at a party meeting in the constituency against the party’s decision to field Mr. Munirathna, who migrated from the Congress. They shouted slogans in favour of party leader Tulsi Muniraju Gowda, who had unsuccessfully contested the previous elections against Mr. Munirathna. The vociferous BJP workers alleged that the party leadership had “let them down” by not consulting local workers before deciding on the ticket.

It may be noted that the BJP had traditional political rivalry with Mr. Munirathna as he was the political opponent in the constituency for more than a decade. Also, Mr. Gowda had fought for getting party ticket till the last minute. However, the party top leadership finally preferred Mr. Munirathna as he had quit his Assembly membership he won on the Congress ticket to help the BJP come to power in the State.

The BJP workers’ opposition to Mr. Munirathna is being seen in political circles as an indication of the tough task that lies ahead for the party leaders to make the cadre fall in line in the constituency.

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