BANGALORE: The loss of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Lok Sabha bypoll for the Udupi-Chikmagalur seat may prove to be a gain for former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa. The win by the Congress in the Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok Sabha bypoll by a margin of 40,000 votes over the BJP candidate is being seen as a huge setback for Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda, who is already facing a rebellion by Yeddyurappa and his loyalists.
The seat was vacated by Gowda when he was made the chief minister of Karnataka and had to fight the state Assembly elections after the resignation of Yeddyurappa following allegations of corruption.
Sources say that after the bypoll defeat, Yeddyurappa is likely to be reinstated as the chief minister of the state after the Budget session of Karnataka Assembly.
If the decision to reinstate Yeddyuraapa as Karnataka Chief Minister is taken, it would only be taken after it has been ratified by the Parliamentary party. However, no such Parliamentary party meeting of the BJP has been called as yet.
Sources say a majority of BJP MLAs are in favour of Yeddyurappa becoming the chief minister.
Sources say that BJP President Nitin Gadkari. Rajya Sabha MP Arun Jaitley and former president Rajnath Singh are in favour of installing Yeddyurappa as the chief minister again.
However, it may be difficult to convince senior party leader LK Advani for the same as he had launched an anti-corruption yatra in 2011 and Sushma Swaraj.
But Yeddyurappa is very important for the BJP is the state as he controls Lingayat votes across Karnataka. Lingayats account for 18 per cent of the voters and are fully with him. He enjoys the support of about 60 BJP MLAs and 13 BJP MPs. He controls many BJP district and taluk units. He can harm party in Lingayat areas in the next election.
Yeddyurappa has a huge money power and has the backing of Gadkari. He is also the senior most BJP leader in Karnataka and its best known face.
While reacting to the Assembly bypoll loss, Yeddyurappa gave no hint that he would be taking over as the chief minister of Karnataka soon.
"It's unfortunate. In Chikamagalur and Udupi all our MLAs worked day and night. Now the results are very much worrying, we will sit together and find out the reasons," he said about the loss.
Questions like whether the party can win an election in Karnataka without Yeddyurappa at the helm are likely to be raised as the bypolls results come in the backdrop of a rebellion by Yeddyurappa and his supporters.
Questions are also likely to be raised about Gowda's election winning ability, if he could not even retain and give the party the seat he vacated and won in the Lok Sabha elections.
Meanwhile, Yeddyurappa will reach Delhi on Wednesday to hold talks with the BJP top brass.
Last week, in a show of strength to party high command, Yeddyurappa, who claimed that 70 MLAs are supporting him, ferried 40 of his loyalists to a private resort, where they are likely to stay for two days and await the BJP central leadership's response to his demand.
Yeddyurappa has been contending that the BJP central leadership should fulfill its promise to reinstate him as the Chief Minister as it had assured him the chair once the High Court quashes an FIR filed against him in an illegal mining case.
On March 8, the High Court cleared him in the case.
The BJP central leadership had forced Yeddyurappa to quit in July 2011 after he was indicted by the Lokyukta report on illegal mining that had caused a political storm in the state.