Former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa continues to keep the central BJP leadership on the tenterhooks.
After having arm-twisted the party high command to install two chief ministers of his choice and having had a ‘say’ in every important decision --- both in the government and the party, Yeddyurappa is now feeling “sidelined” and “humiliated” in the party. Citing humiliation meted out to him by the national leadership, he is now threatening to quit the party which he built in Karnataka over the decades. But there are hardly any takers for his ‘humiliation theory.’ In fact, his detractors see it as another round of attempt of blackmailing by the Lingayat strongman to become the state BJP president and be in the control of the party ahead of Assembly elections next year.
However, Yeddyurappa dismisses this and says his tirades against the party leadership was not aimed at getting any post. “My self-respect is hurt. Even if the party high command offers any post, I am not going to accept it. The question of me becoming the state BJP president or the Chief Minister of the BJP government doesn’t arise at all,” he says.
His supporters also maintain that he is firm on his decision to leave the BJP this time and he would announce it in November or December. “The thought process has already begun. There are two to three options before us. What is left to be decided is whether to float a new party or join another party,” says one of his staunch followers.
Yeddyurappa’s gameplan is to concentrate on the Lingayat and OBC votes, particularly the microscopic communities towards which he was magnanimous in allotting government funds while in power. “Like former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, who established his party in the Vokkaliga heartland, Yeddyurappa wants to create a Lingayat votebank for himself, and play a key role in the government formation,” says another leader from his camp.
On their part, Yeddyurappa detractors dismiss his outburst and threat to quit the party as desperate efforts to be in limelight. Knowing very well that the BJP national leadership cannot easily let him go — owing to his clout among the Lingayats who constitute one-fourth of the state’s electorate, and that the party would come to negotiation table — Yeddyurappa has upped the ante against the party leadership, they maintain. “Else, why is he waiting for December?” they question.
The party high command is also in a fix: neither it can ignore Yeddyurappa, nor it is in a position to heed to his demands. “The party national leaders are aware of his capabilities and they, in fact, believe that he deserves a position. But they are also helpless, as he is facing several charges,”an insider in the BJP said.
This apart, the division in the party, both in the state and the Centre, over Yeddyurappa is also coming in the way of solving the problem. While BJP national president Nitin Gadkari and BJP senior leader Arun Jaitley are said to have sympathies towards him, BJP patriarch LK Advani, national BJP general secretary HN Ananth Kumar are opposed to giving any position to Yeddyurappa.
Meanwhile, the political circles are busy discussing the political outcome. Many feel that Yeddyurappa’s new party at best would ensure the defeat of BJP in the next Assembly elections, but it would not change his political future for the better.