The BJP high command seems to have resigned itself to the fact that BS Yeddyurappa will not be returning to its fold. The Lingayat overlord of Karnataka politics has realised that it is better to be head of his own party—the Karnataka Janata Party—than play second fiddle in the state BJP. It will be contesting all the 224 seats up for grabs in 2013, raising the worry meter for the BJP. Yeddyurappa has already started his poll campaign, seeking an endorsement from the crowds that gather at his meetings, playing the emotional card by breaking down publicly on how he was used and discarded by the state leaders, Behind the histrionics lies a cold calculus: banking on the trend of regional parties playing a significant role in Delhi, and thereby catapulting him to the national stage—a role he was denied by the BJP.
Yeddy’s song is that he has walked too far from his parent party to go back, a message that he conveyd last week to senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley who was in Bangalore to woo him back. Yeddy’s Enemy Number 1 is Ananth Kumar, BJP general secretary and MP, at whose door he lays the reasons for his estrangement and valediction; he has also blamed Kumar for converting his former protégés—ousted chief minister DV Sadananda Gowda, and state party boss and Deputy Chief Minister Eshwarappa. “Let Eshwarappa, Sadananda Gowda and Ananth Kumar work together and bring the party to power in the next Assembly elections,” Yeddy’s directs his sarcasm towards his foes. “I should have dissolved the government and sought fresh elections instead of quitting,” he regrets at his roadshows—in Gubbi, Hubli and other places—and the Lingayat crowds present agree. Yeddy’s argument is that the BJP is as good as dead in the state since it has been neglecting issues of farmers—a constituency Yeddy has been championing from the very start.
However, the Lingayat leader seems to have avoided putting all his eggs in one basket. He has reiterated that he will not pull down the Jagdish Shettar government, and wishes it would complete its full term. He says that he will not support any Opposition-sponsored no-confidence motion to pull down the Shettar government. His strategy of sending conflicting signals seem to have confused the BJP high command, which keeps sending leaders to negotiate his return to home.
Meanwhile, what is worrying for both the state government and the party is that Yeddyurappa is attracting a stream of backers from the government and the state unit of the party. “Yeddy follower and sacked BJP MP, Dhananjaya Kumar proclaims that the BJP will be commiting suicide if it acts against the 50 BJP legislators who have identified with the KJP. “The BJP high command that failed to take action against three MLAs for associating with Sriramulu has no guts to act against 50 MLAs,” says Kumar. Excise Minister MP Renukacharya claims that he would not desert Yeddy at any cost. So did Minister for Cooperation B J Puttaswamy who clearly demonstrated his loyalty to Yeddy saying, “I am not at the mercy of the Chief Minister. I am at the mercy of Yeddyurappa.”
Meawhile, all eyes are on the KJP convention to be held at Haveri on December 9 where Yeddy will announce his formal decision to quit the BJP. Though Eshwarappa claims no Cabinet minister will participate, it seems Yeddy is on a roll to reclaim Karnataka.
- Sunday Standard