BENGALURU: On a day that Home Minister Amit Shah projected Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai as the future leader of Karnataka, former chief minister BS Yediyurappa is readying plans to go on a statewide tour.
According to party insiders, the 78-year-old Lingayat strongman is likely to hold consultations with the state leadership after Ganesha Chaturthi (September 10) and begin his tour of all 31 districts and select taluks to strengthen the party ahead of the taluk and zilla panchayat polls, expected to be held later this year or in early 2022. He will hold rallies and meetings with local MLAs, MLCs and former legislators.
However, his tour is primarily aimed at bringing the BJP back to power in 2023. Despite being deposed recently, he appears willing to work with his one-time protege and bolster his chances. Sources aware of the developments said the four-time CM is likely to start his tour in the first week of October, after the 10-day Legislature session ends on September 24. The Rs 1 crore Toyota Vellfire, a high-end, seven-seater luxury car -- which he recently purchased -- will come handy for his long tour.
Yediyurappa plans to travel extensively across Mumbai-Karnataka, Hyderabad-Karnataka, Central Karnataka and the coastal regions where the BJP has won successively. Sources say the tour will help the BJP check the anti-incumbency factor and help the party retain seats, if not win more.
Meanwhile, Yediyurappa will be hard-pressed to increase the saffron party’s footprint in the Old Mysuru region, considered a stronghold of the Opposition Congress and JDS. The BJP has classified the constituencies into three categories — A, B and C. A refers to an easy win, B is a contest and C is where it will have to walk the extra mile to win, and many seats in Old Mysuru fall under this category.
While recent victories in Sira (Tumakuru) and KR Pet (Mandya) have given a boost to the BJP, party insiders feel a lot needs to be done to increase its vote share in the region. Apart from panchayat polls, Yediyurappa’s tour is also likely to give a fillip to the BJP in the election to 25 Council seats from urban local bodies, to be held next year, and the Sindagi and Hangal bypolls, due in the coming months.