BENGALURU: Senior leader Umesh Katti, who had hoped to persuade the BJP’s central leadership to hand him a ministerial post, returned empty-handed from Delhi on Thursday after being denied an audience with Union home minister Amit Shah.
Katti and his brother Ramesh had camped in Delhi since Wednesday to lobby for a ministerial berth for himself and a Rajya Sabha nomination for Ramesh. He had met BJP national president JP Nadda on Wednesday and was scheduled to call on Shah on Thursday. Sources said Shah could not meet him owing to prior engagements.
Umesh served as minister in different governments for 13 years, but this is the first time he is not part of the cabinet. “This is the first time the Katti brothers are facing a political crisis. Chief minister BS Yediyurappa is keen to induct him into the cabinet, but the central leadership is not in favour,” said a BJP functionary.
Katti’s name apparently figured in the list prepared by Yediyurappa when he expanded his cabinet for the first time in August last year. But, to everyone’s surprise, the central leadership replaced his name with that of Laxman Savadi.
Even before expanding his cabinet for a second time last week, Yediyurappa had categorically said Katti would be made minister. But that assurance fell flat. Yediyurappa has assured Katti a spot in his cabinet when it is expanded the next time.
Ramesh was reportedly assured of a Rajya Sabha ticket when he was denied a ticket to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Chikkodi last year. “Both Umesh and Ramesh had gone to Delhi to remind the party high command about their assurance,” said a source close to the brothers. In the Lok Sabha elections, the party preferred Annasaheb Jolle over Ramesh. The brothers had
made efforts till last minute to get ticket but in vain.