BANGALORE: Two questions nag the BJP’s old timers, especially after former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa dropping hints of parting ways with the party: Will history repeat in state BJP in the form of the exit of its third unit president, and will Yeddyurappa become the Shankar Singh Vaghela of Karnataka? It may be recalled that BJP state unit’s first president A K Subbaiah was expelled from the party in 1983.
B B Shivappa was suspended from the party in December 1999 and was dismissed from the primary membership in 2003. This line of thinking gains traction with Yeddyurappa too saying that he will decide on his future course of action on February 27 - his birthday. There are disturbing similarities between 1983, 2003 and the present 2012-crises. Leadership is the common thread running in all the events. Subbaiah was expelled after he criticised the party’s state and central leadership as well as the RSS following his forcible exit from the state unit’s presidentship.
Shivappa was thrown out after he was accused of engineering violence following his inability to become leader of the Opposition in the Assembly. Now, even Yeddyurappa has raised the contentious issue of leadership. Interestingly, there are many qualitative similarities in Subbaiah, Shivappa, Yeddyurappa and Vaghela. While the first three have built the party from scratch right from the Jan Sangh days, Shivappa, however, worked in its infancy from 1983-88.
The expulsion of Subbaiah, Shivappa and Vaghela resulted in the loss of their credibility as well as clout over cadre and electorate. None of the three leaders could gel in any of the party they joined, though Vaghela became Union minister in the Congress-led UPA government.