MYSURU: With reports of a possible Cabinet rejig doing the rounds after Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa’s two-day Delhi visit, expelled BSP MLA N Mahesh has started the groundwork to join the BJP, with a firm eye on a Cabinet berth.
Mahesh, who won the last Assembly polls from Kollegal on a BSP ticket and joined the Congress-JDS coalition government under the leadership of HD Kumaraswamy, was later dropped from the Cabinet. He was expelled from the BSP for abstaining from the trust vote that brought the coalition government down. This put Mahesh in the bad books of BSP supremo Mayawati.
However, Mahesh took advantage of his expulsion from the BSP and maintained that he was an independent MLA. With no options left for his political survival, and keen to accommodate his followers in the ensuing taluk and zilla panchayat elections in Kollegal Assembly constituency, he has now warmed up to BJP leaders, say sources.
He also recently hit out at the Congress for not making an SC member a chief minister for decades, and for using them only for its political gains.
According to sources, Mahesh recently held talks with his close associates in Kollegal, Chamarajanagar and Gundlupet taluks to study the mood of his supporters. It is said that he even explained to them the current political scenario in the state and also SCs shifting their loyalty to the BJP in other states. Mahesh, who is aware that it would be an Herculean task to win elections as an independent if the SCs are divided, has clarified that he would not compromise when it comes to their welfare.
Meanwhile, local BJP leaders are apprehensive of Mahesh’s entry as the saffron party on its own had won four seats in the last zilla panchayat polls. “Mahesh’s entry would lead to a clash of interests between his supporters and traditional BJP workers in Kollegal,” said a source.
On the other hand, Mahesh is also exerting pressure on the BJP to accommodate him in the Cabinet as the Schedule Caste (Right) community -- the dominant sect in Old Mysuru region -- which has no representation in the government.
Meanwhile, BJP’s Mysuru region in-charge Y V Ravishankar has held talks with local party leaders to arrive at a consensus. He also confirmed to TNIE that Mahesh has held talks with the party and a decision will be taken by the party high command.