Is the BJP sidelining former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa? His walking out of Monday’s (April 10) closed-door meeting held in New Delhi to finalise the party’s candidates for the May 10 Karnataka Assembly election has prompted his followers to wonder about that.
Yediyurappa is a member of the BJP’s Parliamentary Board Committee, as well as a member of the party’s Central Election Committee. His leaving the poll-related meeting in a huff has raised quite a few eyebrows. Opposition Congress was quick to highlight the “insult” meted out to the powerful Lingayat leader.
Row over Vijayendra’s constituency
Yediyurappa has reportedly ruffled quite a few feathers by openly going against the BJP high command regarding his son BY Vijayendra’s constituency. The high command wanted Vijayendra to take on powerful Congress leader Siddaramaiah in the Varuna constituency, but BSY rejected the proposal publicly and said his son would contest from Shikaripura, his home turf.
Now, rumours are rife that Vijayendra won’t get a ticket from Shikaripura. Sources in Delhi claimed that the final list may surprise Yediyurappa and Vijayendra will likely get a ticket from Varuna. Another leader V Somanna, who is also trying to get a ticket for his son, would also face the same situation, said the source.
Also read: Karnataka elections: The curious case of BSY’s son and Varuna seat
However, the alleged BJP snub to Yediyurappa has not gone down well with the Lingayats. He was instrumental in consolidating the Lingayat vote bank for the BJP to come to power in the state, and he still has that following. However, the high command surely has some kind of plan to corner the veteran politician, sources said.
Also, Yediyurappa has lost a chunk of his Lingayat supporter base over the Panchamasali (Lingayat subsect) issue. His opponent in the BJP, Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, is emerging as a strongman in North Karnataka, which has 60% Panchamasalis within the Lingayat community.
BSY can still make or break BJP’s prospects
Yet, Yediyurappa’s hold over the community is enough to make or break any party’s prospects. Also, whenever he was made CM, he did not continue in the post for long because of the party’s internal clashes. Hence, he enjoys a sympathy factor, which can have an impact on the polls. Around 50 sitting MLAs are staunch Yediyurappa supporters, and deciding whether to give them tickets or not can be crucial for the election results, a BJP leader said.
Yediyurappa left Monday meeting in a huff, met party president JP Nadda for 10 minutes, and returned to Bengaluru. He reportedly batted for supporters in some areas. But the high command reportedly hinted that they would be the ones to decide on the tickets. Hence, Yeddyurappa walked out of the meeting, sources said.
The veteran leader was visibly upset upon his return to Bengaluru from Delhi on Monday evening. He told the media that a discussion was on about who should be given the tickets. The list may be released on Monday or Tuesday evening, he said, adding that there was a discussion about a few sitting MLAs not getting tickets.
Also read: Karnataka polls: Will Yediyurappa’s son Vijayendra take on Siddaramaiah in Varuna?
Congress raises a stink
Opposition Congress was quick to cash in on the Yediyurappa issue. The party alleged that the former CM, who built the BJP in Karnataka, was now being used by the BJP high command only for its own gains. The party allegedly that the BJP high command kept Yediyurappa out of important meetings on candidate selection and did not consult him.
The Karnataka Congress tweeted, “BJP needs Yediyurappa only to show his face to win elections! BSY out, Prahlad Joshi, BL Santosh, CT Ravi, and Nalin Kumar Kateel are in for the ticket distribution meeting. BJP doesn’t need guidance. BJP is showing a tragic end to BS Yediyurappa’s political life,” Congress said.
In an earlier tweet, it said, “This is not the first time BSY has been insulted by the BJP. There has been an anti-Yediyurappa ‘Santosh koota’ (BL Santosh team) in the BJP since the beginning. This ‘Santosh koota’ played an active role in preventing Yediyurappa from getting power in the BJP. It removed him from power, cornered him, and finally sent him to jail.”