BANGALORE: Former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa’s detractors within the BJP seem to have decided to hit him where it hurts the most. After realising that Yeddyurappa’s hold on the government and the party cannot be diluted or challenged as long as his influence on the Lingayat community remains in tact, his rivals led by state BJP president K S Eshwarappa are now trying to drive at least a chunk of the community away from the beleaguered leader who is making a desperate bid to return as the chief minister.
Two recent events — a convention of Veerashaiva community at Gokak town and the foundation stone laying ceremony for the installation of gigantic Kotilingeshwara at Tumukur Siddaganga Mutt — are any indication, there shouldn’t be an iota of doubt about the “sound and clear” intentions of the anti-Yeddyurappa’s camp to erode the latter’s grip on the Lingayat community and reduce his bargaining power.
The community support has been Yeddyurappa’s biggest political asset and he has been using it to his benefit ever since he became the CM; something on which he is pinning his hopes on to return to power as well.
While the Gokak function was organised by Municipal Administration Minister Balachandra Jarakiholi, a known Yeddyurappa baiter, the Tumkur function was organised by a committee.
Though the organisers refuse to attach political motives to these two functions, the list of invitees suggest otherwise as it cannot be a mere coincidence that not only Yeddyurappa, none of the names of his supporting ministers and MLAs, too, figure in the list.
The intention was not only to keep Yeddyurappa at bay, but also to send a signal that he wasn’t the only Lingayat leader in the state as being made out by his supporters. In fact, in the Gokak function, a few seers of mutts openly attacked Yeddyurappa by blaming him for not doing anything for the community in exchange for its support.
The successful organisation of a function at Tumkur mutt in the absence of Yeddyurappa, the most favoured devotee of the mutt, and its head Shivakumara Swamiji is also being seen as a victory for his detractors. The Swamiji has been a pillar of strength for Yeddyurappa, which was demonstrated time and again, especially in the recent past when the Lingayat strongman was in trouble.
It is reported that Yeddyurappa tried his best to stop his one-time adherent Chief Minister D V Sadanand Gowda from attending the Gokak function, but in vain.
Irked, Yeddyurappa and his supporters are now planning a counter strategy, while their opponents want to organise many more such programmes.