BENGALURU: With BS Yediyurappa at the helm of the government, the BJP has chosen Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel, staunchly backed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, as its state unit chief.
The three-time MP, who missed a cabinet berth in the Narendra Modi 2.0 government, was named BJP Karnataka President by National President and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday.
Known to have his roots deeply embedded in the RSS, Kateel’s elevation comes barely months after he was pulled up and referred to an internal disciplinary committee for his tweets backing Bhopal MP Pragya Thakur’s comments hailing Nathuram Godse.
During campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls, Amit Shah himself had ordered an inquiry against Kateel, Pragya Thakur and Ananthkumar Hedge for their comments hailing Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin. Kateel had later apologised for his comments. Just months down the line, his comments seem to have been long forgotten, with the BJP never revealing what became of the internal inquiry.
Known to be close to recently elevated National General Secretary (organisation) BL Santhosh, whose rivalry with BS Yediyurappa is no secret, Kateel is expected to keep the balance of Sangh’s influence on the party structure, while Yediyurappa minds the government.
While names of Shobha Karandlaje and Arvind Limbavali were making the rounds for the post, the BJP seems to have prioritised the Sangh’s choice for the post. Kateel’s name for the post was first discussed at the RSS Baithak in 2018.