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Pralhad Joshi hints at replacement of K’taka BJP chief

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BENGALURU, May 16 (PTI): Union Minister Pralhad Joshi on Tuesday hinted at the possibility of replacement of the BJP Karnataka President Nalin Kumar Kateel, who has already completed his three year term, following the party’s loss in the Assembly elections.

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Kateel, a three-time Lok Sabha member from Dakshina Kannada, was appointed state unit chief in August 2019 for a three year term. He was given an extension last year in view of the impending elections.

In the May 10 elections, the Congress ousted the BJP from power. The Congress got 135 seats in the 224-member Assembly, while the BJP secured 66 seats and JD(S) 19.

Joshi, the Lok Sabha member from Dharwad, and Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Coal and Mines, said the BJP legislature party will decide on who would be the leader of opposition in the Assembly after a discussion in the presence of a representative from the party’s central leadership.

“I would just like to say that his (Kateel’s) term of three years is over. In view of the (Assembly) election, our national leaders had given him responsibility. Our leaders will take further decision,” Joshi told reporters here.

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He also appealed to the Congress to form the government at the earliest to fulfill the wishes of people.

On the next move of the BJP after the rout in Assembly elections, Joshi said the party will introspect.

“We have already said that this was the most disappointing result for the BJP. Such developments happen in the election. We have to find out the reason,” the Minister said.

Neither he nor the party has taken the defeat lightly. Instead, the outcome has been taken as a challenge, he added. “We are gearing up for the Lok Sabha elections and we will win”.

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After the election results were declared on May 13, Kateel said as the state unit head he takes responsibility for the party’s defeat at the hustings.

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