"I am deeply hurt. It is not just an insult to me but... Thousands of my supporters are calling me on my phone. It is not a matter of ticket. The way things unfolded...I am deeply hurt. I am attentive to the developments," he said in a choked voice while talking to reporters in Shivamogga.
He was answering a question on reports that he may not be given the ticket to contest from Shivamogga in the elections, expected to be held in the next few months.
Eshwarappa had been at the loggerheads with the state BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa, both of whom hail from Shivamogga, for more than a year before declaring a truce last year.
At the height of his feud with Yeddyurappa, he had formed Sangolli Rayanna Brigade.
Eshwarappa's supporters present at the press meet raised slogans in favour of their leader and denounced Yeddyurappa.
Meanwhile, the brigade warned BJP that any move to sideline him would spoil the party's prospects and said it was ready for any 'conflict' if its leader faced any challenge politically.
In a Facebook post yesterday, the brigade's state president M Doddaiah said, "Anybody trying to create any problem for Eshwarappa in Shivamogga (his constituency) should be ready for clash with the Sangolli Rayanna brigade. You will be digging your grave by sidelining the leader of backward communities, Eshwarappa," he added.
In the message addressed to party President Amit Shah, Doddaiah claimed that the BJP would not be able to cross 50 seats, let alone achieving the target of 150 seats, if Eshwarappa was ignored.
Eshwarappa had launched the brigade on December 6, 2016, naming it after 18th Century warrior and freedom fighter Sangolli Rayanna, who belonged to his 'Kuruba' community.
He had said the outfit would work for the upliftment of the Dalits and backwards.
Eshwarappa had later buried the hatchet and said he would work under the leadership of Yeddyurappa, who has now been declared the chief ministerial candidate by the party.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)