BENGALURU: Even as Congress tries to undo BJP’s Veerashaiva-Lingayat vote bank, the latter is doing everything they can to derail the grand old party’s plans by fielding BJP State President BS Yeddyurappa from a suitable Linagayat-dominated constituency in northern Karnataka. BJP National President Amit Shah has conveyed his plan to Yeddyurappa, who would be compelled to give up his four decade long political association with his Shikaripura constituency.
With Congress leaders supporting the agitation for a separate religion tag for Veerashaiva-Lingayat community, BJP is facing a threat to its vote bank, which is largely concentrated in northern Karnataka. As the agitation has induced a rift within the community, BJP has maintained a studied silence as any move could damage its poll prospects. Shah is reportedly convinced that BJP’s ‘Mission 150’ cannot be achieved without a massive mandate in northern Karnataka, the party’s traditional bastion. Fielding Yeddyurappa from one of the constituencies in northern Karnataka may boost the party in the region.
I am willing: Yeddyurappa
“Our party national leadership has conveyed its desire to field me from northern Karnataka. I will think about it and take a decision. I will abide by whatever decision the party high command takes,” Yeddyurappa said while speaking to mediapersons, here on Sunday.
Party strategists expect big gains for BJP in 10 to 12 districts in northern Karnataka, if Yeddyurappa is fielded from the region. It would also send a strong message to the ticket aspirants in the party, that they should be ready for any sacrifice during distribution of party tickets because even the BJP state president is ready to move out of his political backyard.
‘Badami likely choice’
According to party sources, Yeddyurappa is likely to enter the fray in the 2018 Assembly election from one of the constituencies in Bagalkot district. Badami is being seen as the likely choice. This would be the first poll test for Yeddyurappa outside Shivamogga district. He has represented Shikaripura constituency six times in the Assembly. Currently, he is a member of Lok Sabha from the Shivamogga constituency.