BJP was trying to placate one such leader, former deputy CM Laxman Savadi. Union minister Pralhad Joshi and Chikkodi MP Annasaheb Jolle spoke to Savadi who refused to change his decision to quit BJP. Congress insiders said that during talks Savadi demanded a bigger role were he to join Congress. Belagavi, which borders Maharashtra, is the largest district in Karnataka after Bengaluru and accounts for 18 assembly seats. Savadi belongs to the Ganiga subsect of Lingayats, which has strong presence in at least six seats in Belagavi district and outside. He had lost the 2018 assembly polls to Congress’ Mahesh Kumathalli, who has been fielded by BJP in Athani. Kumathalli defected to BJP in 2019 and won the bypoll following his resignation.
CM Basavaraj Bommai said BJP has a strong network of workers which would insulate the party from rebel damage. Despite his optimism, Joshi and BJP general secretary Arun Singh were in state to hold back rebels from leaving the party. Parliamentary board member BS Yediyurappa is also making efforts on his own.