BENGALURU: Senior BJP leader BS Yediyurappa’s exclusive meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi for about 15 minutes has set off an avalanche of expectations among his, rather large, group of supporters in BJP. Sources said that this is an indication of BJP’s only mass leader Yediyurappa being organisationally resuscitated to lead the fight in the Assembly polls, which are just months away, The former chief minister met Modi on the sidelines of the National Executive Meet in Delhi, where about 350 select leaders are participating.
The sources said this sudden development to recognise Yediyurappa and pull him out of semi-retirement started after the visits of Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to Karnataka recently. The central leadership has recognised that it cannot trust party state president Nalin Kumar Kateel and Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai to deliver the state back to the party. This, considering regular surfacing of embarrassing scandals involving party leaders and Congress visibly gaining strength in Karnataka. Many party MLAs have also suggested that they need more active campaigning in their constituencies by Yediyurappa, the sources added.
Yediyurappa himself played down his meeting with Modi, saying he had sought an appointment with the latter to invite him for the inauguration of the Shivamogga Airport. But sources said the two discussed state politics and Yediyurappa was asked to take up a more active role in campaigning.
Sources said that without strategic changes, both within the party and government, it would be hard to expect a miracle, considering Karnataka has never returned a party to power in the last few decades.
While the group opposed to Yediyurappa had taken control of the party organisation and eased out several of his loyalists, it remains to be seen how the party will balance different power centres. The party has realised that Hindutva alone may not yield expected dividends and has been playing down the religion card over the last few weeks. There is also talk of an organisational revamp to ensure that the party is fighting fit for the polls, the sources said.
The resurgence of Yediyurappa may not be good news for Congress as the opposition party would have obviously benefited from his frustrations, however minor.