Bengaluru, Apr 17 (PTI) The BJP today questioned the Congress for giving a ticket for Karnataka assembly polls to a lawyer who had represented billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi’s uncle Mehul Choksi, both accused in the PNB fraud, in a cheating case in the state high court in 2016.

The in-charge of BJP’s national information and technology cell, Amit Malviya, used the hash-tag #CongressWithNirav on Twitter and asked why lawyer H S Chandramouli was given ticket from Madikeri while it was denied to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s legal advisor and party spokesperson Brijesh Kalappa, who hails from the area.

Malviya tweeted, “What is so special about H S Chandramouli, lawyer of Nirav Modi’s uncle Mehul Choksi, that Congress gave him a ticket from Madikeri while denying one to Brijesh Kalappa, Siddaramaiah’s legal advisor and party spokesperson? Rahul’s friends over CM’s aide? #CongressWithNirav.” The trigger for this tweet was Kalappa’s cryptic message on Twitter yesterday: “I have never represented Mehul Choksi nor have I been given the party nomination.” Chandramouli was Choksi’s advocate when he moved the Karnataka High Court in 2016 against the state overnment and S V Hariprasad, a city-based businessman who had filed the complaint of cheating against Choksi.

Nirav Modi and Choksi are among the accused in the scam related to alleged cheating of the Punjab National Bank to the tune of about USD two billion.

Kalappa, a Congress loyalist, has been a ticket aspirant since 2009 but without any success.

In an emotional post on Facebook post that concluded with superstar of yesteryears Rajesh Khanna’s famous dialogue ‘Pushpa, I hate tears’, Kalappa said, “I have been denied Lok Sabha ticket 2009 and 2014, Rajya Sabha ticket in 2014, 2016, 2018 and now assembly.” He said, “I will swallow the ignominy of being ousted from the race by a person who joined the party in 2016, got a legislative council ticket the same year, lost and the same person now bags the assembly ticket for Madikeri.” In a wry remark, he said he would try his luck in gram panchayat election next time.

“Someone in my party is clearly telling me to seek nomination for a constituency befitting my status. But those FB friends I love and respect – don’t shed tears for me.

“After so many disappointments, I am entitled to use Rajesh Khanna’s immortal words, ‘Pushpa, I hate tears’.” Kalappa highlighted the branding of some persons as unelectable for denying them ticket time and again.

“Many of us in the INC too have made the mistake of calling people ‘unelectable’ – those same persons have more than proved us wrong, totally wrong! I am a victim of one such campaign, why? Because I wear normal clothes, eat at small places, don’t travel with a retinue, am honest, down to earth.” The Congress is facing severe backlash from many party strongmen, loyalists and sitting MLAs who have been denied ticket for the May 12 assembly polls. The supporters of ticket aspirants went on the rampage at several places in Karnataka yesterday.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.