In Karnataka, the BJP is no longer a ‘party with difference’. But, a party with differences thanks to Yeddyurappa.
Former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa’s recent remarks against party leaders, particularly against the Deputy Chief Minister and BJP state unit president K S Eshwarappa has again proved that there hardly is any discipline in the saffron party in the state.
The spat between Yeddyurappa and Eshwarappa— both are from Shimoga district— has a long history. There is a spirit of competitiveness among them. Both enjoy the strong backing of their respective communities. Eshwarappa hails from Kuruba community.
Yeddyurappa, the Lingayat strongman, continues to nurse the ambition to regain control of the party. He says that he will become the chief minister again with the blessings of the people and does not require any support from the high command. Within next few days, he impetuously demanded that Eshwarappa should resign from the Deputy Chief Minister’s post and concentrate on his party job.
Although, BJP leaders maintain that the remarks are made in the best interest of the party, Eshwarappa’s silence shows that is not the case. The timing of the remarks has also raised many an eyebrow. The BJP is already looking for the new party president as Eshwarappa’s tenure will end in November this year.
Yeddyurappa’s supporters say Eshwarappa had always aligned with people who tried to weaken the Lingayat leader. During the recent political crisis, he was identified with the Ananth Kumar and D V Sadananda Gowda camps. Yeddyurappa had once stated that it was Kumar and Eshwarappa who were responsible for sending him to jail on corruption charges.
Former BJP State President B B Shivappa says the spat between the two leaders has damaged the party’s image. “If the party high command fails to act against these leaders in the next few days, the party will not have any base and credibility in the state,’’ Shivappa told The Sunday Standard.
According to him, Yeddyurappa is making statements against the party and its leaders with an intention to damage its image. “It is time for the leaders to take appropriate action. Eshwarappa is also equally responsible for the current state of affairs in the party. As a party president why is he not taking action against Yeddyurappa?’’ he asked.
However, MLC and BJP Shimoga district unit president Siddaramanna maintains that all is well in the BJP. “Yeddyurappa is expressing his views keeping the best interests of the party in mind and our leaders will sit together and take a decision.’’
Party insiders, however, opine that these jibes by Yeddy are aimed to draw attention at the BJP national executive meet beginning from September 27 at Kurukshetra, Haryana. “He wants to the national leaders to take note of his demand to make him the state president,’’ they say as the reason for the blistering attack on the present party president. Meanwhile, he keeps them guessing about his plans to leave the BJP and float a political outfit of his own, which is giving the High Command poll-eve nightmares.