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In a jolt to the ruling BJP ahead of the May 10 Assembly elections, former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, who was denied ticket to contest the polls, tendered his resignation as MLA on Sunday.
The opposition Congress quickly extended him an invitation to join the party.
Shettar's decision came after the BJP's central leadership made it clear that he would not be accommodated this time.
He submitted his resignation to the Assembly Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri at Sirsi in Uttara Kannada district.
The last-ditch efforts of senior party leaders, including BJP's election in-charge for Karnataka Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister Pralhad Joshi and Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Saturday to persuade the Hubli-Dharwad Central MLA to change his mind paid no fruits as he quit as a legislator today.
Shettar, a former State BJP President and a six-time MLA had on Saturday said he would resign as an MLA and also part ways with the saffron party after a three-decade-long association.
The 67-year-old reiterated that he was firm on contesting the elections.
Meanwhile, Senior Congress leader B K Hariprasad said his party would welcome Shettar in case he wishes to join it.
Describing Shettar as an "honest CM", Hariprasad said there was no allegation against him during his tenure at the helm.
BJP State unit President Nalin Kumar Kateel said senior BJP leaders had made efforts to "keep him in the party".
There was no "conspiracy" behind the party's decision to not field him this time, Kateel said in response to a reporter's question.