In a bid to send out a strong message, the BJP in Karnataka are carrying out 'Operation Lotus' in former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar's Hubballi-Dharwad Central constituency to ensure his defeated in his home turf, sources said.
As part of the operation, Union Minister Pralhad Joshi has managed to pull former Mayor of Hubballi-Dharwad and senior Congress leader Prakash Kyarakatti to the BJP.
The sources said that following the attacks by Shettar, who recently joined the Congress, against BJP National General Secretary (Organization) B.L. Santhosh and the Union Minister, the party has decided to defeat the former Chief Minister at any cost.
They further explained that Pralhad Joshi has been successful in retaining the party members of Hubballi-Dharwad City Corporation in the BJP, who tendered resignations to their posts following the denial of ticket to Shettar.
The party is pulling Congress leaders one after the other in Hubballi-Dharwad to pressurise Shettar to confine himself to the constituency.
Presently, Shettar is campaigning in the north Karnataka region. He has claimed that the BJP is humiliating Lingayat leadership and was issuing tickets to persons with criminal background.
The BJP has fielded Mahesh Tenginakayi, once the right hand man of Shettar as its candidate.
In a span of 10 days, nine Central leaders, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah, have arrived in Hubballi city and conducted a series of meetings to ensure the former Chief Minister's defeat.
Former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa went to the extent of stating that he would give it in writing in blood to defeat Shettar.