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Weeks After Constitution Change Remark, Six-Time BJP MP Denied Poll Pass

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Weeks After Constitution Change Remark, Six-Time BJP MP Denied Poll Pass

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6-Time MP Spoke About 'Constitution Change', BJP Changes Him As Candidate

Anantkumar Hegde is a six-time BJP MP from Uttara Kannada district

New Delhi:

In denying a poll pass to a six-time MP from Karnataka, weeks after his remarks on the BJP’s 400-seat target sparked a row, the party has yet again sent a message that leaders who embarrass the leadership with off-the-cuff remarks stand to lose out on opportunities.

Anantkumar Hegde, BJP MP from Karnataka, won the Uttara Kannada Lok Sabha seat six times in the past 28 years, with four back-to-back victories. A repeat offender as far as controversial speeches are concerned, Mr Hegde raised a political storm earlier this month when he claimed that BJP’s target to win 400 Lok Sabha seats is aimed at changing the Constitution.

Accusing the Congress of changing the Constitution to “oppress Hindus”, he told a gathering that there is a need to “rewrite” the Constitution. “If the Constitution has to be amended — the Congress fundamentally distorted the Constitution by forcefully filling unnecessary things in it, especially by bringing in laws that were aimed at suppressing the Hindu society — if all of this has to be changed, it is not possible with this (current) majority,” the BJP MP said.

“If we think it can be done as Congress is not there in Lok Sabha and (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi has two-thirds majority in Lok Sabha, and keep quiet, it is not possible,” he said, stressing that the party needs a two-third majority in Rajya Sabha and states too.

As the Opposition slammed the BJP over its MP’s remarks, the party distanced itself, saying that Mr Hegde’s remarks “are his personal views”. The writing on the wall was clear – the six-time MP was losing his seat. It is learnt that he did lobby hard, but the decision had been taken.

Replacing Mr Hegde in the BJP stronghold is Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri, a six-time MLA who has also served as a Speaker of Karnataka Assembly and a state minister.

The BJP’s selection of candidates this time reveals a clear pattern – leaders known for hate speeches and controversial remarks are a strict no-no. Before Mr Hegde, firebrand woman leader Pragya Singh Thakur and Delhi MPs Ramesh Bidhuri and Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma lost out on the poll pass despite being sitting MPs.

A party leader had earlier told NDTV that while winnability is important, the party is also looking closely at candidates who have embarrassed the leadership by making provocative statements.

“Denial of tickets to them sends a message that in public life, decorum has to be maintained. In the past, the Prime Minister had warned party leaders on several occasions that they should not make controversial statements,” the BJP leader had said.

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