Karnataka BJP's infighting goes public with faction clashes in Bagalkot
The infighting in the “party with a difference” does not seem to end. Karnataka’s BJP witnessed open clashes between various factions in the state unit during an event in Bagalkot district on Sunday (June 25) that was supposed to discuss the nine years of the Modi government.
The former Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai and other party leaders were on the verge of beginning the district-level party workers’ meeting when the supporters of Basana Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, Bijapur city MLA, tried to stop them because their leader had not yet arrived. They raised slogans against Ramesh Jigajinagi, Bijapur MP, and Murugesh Nirani, former minister, and others.
Their grouse seems to be against Jigajinagi being projected as BJP’s candidate for Bijapur in next year’s Lok Sabha polls.
After Yatnal arrived, he and Nirani verbally attacked each other from the stage, though not directly. The other leaders on the stage watched helplessly as the situation deteriorated, and finally, Jigajinagi, Nirani and their supporters walked out of the meeting.
Controversy over DKS visit
Yatnal also targeted Bommai over the visit of the Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar’s visit to his home last week. “Shivakumar visits BS Yediyurappa at his house, visits Bommai’s house. Do you know why he visits them? These are not courtesy visits. They are to send a message to Sonia Gandhi that if he is not made CM, he is in touch with BJP leaders,” Yatnal said.
The Bijapur MLA also alleged that some of the BJP state leaders were practising “adjustment politics” with the Congress.
He said, “All party workers know who did what, who tried to defeat whom, etc. Everything happened in our party. We don’t have to blame anyone else.”
Yatnal also targeted DK Shivakumar and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, saying, “This is not a government that will last for five years. Siddaramaiah won’t leave (the CM chair after two-and-a-half years) and DK Shivakumar will persist. They will hit each other with slippers.”
A section of the BJP, including general secretary CT Ravi and BJP MP Pratap Simha, has been blaming the massive defeat in the just-concluded assembly elections on the secret understanding between one faction of the BJP and the Congress.
There seems to be a proxy war going on between the Yediyurappa camp and the supporters of BL Santosh, BJP’s national general secretary (organisation).
Pratap Simha had earlier attacked the governments led by Yediyurappa and Bommai for not acting against the alleged corruption of Congress leaders during the earlier rule of Siddaramaiah from 2013-2018. This is what they refer to as “adjustment politics”, that the party in power will ignore the transgressions of the previous government, and wait for the favour to be returned.
The Yediyurappa camp in response has accused the other faction of taking decisions that were harmful to the party. Speaking later at the same event, Bommai refuted the claims that he had made any compromise with the Congress. “I have not compromised in politics, nor will I. We can’t say no to people who want to visit our homes. It is a courtesy. But we won’t compromise anywhere,” he said.
He tried to gloss over the rampant infighting in the party by telling reporters later, “We have the same DNA, BJP DNA. There will be tempers. But at the end of the day, we’re all one when it comes to making the BJP win,” he said.
Former minister and senior BJP leader KS Eshwarappa on Monday (June 26) blamed “Congress influence for the indiscipline in the BJP.”
He said, “It is unfortunate that such a discussion which should take place within four walls, is going on in public. I have urged the state president to talk to these leaders and put an end to this. I also request leaders not to make any public statements, that hurt this disciplined party.”
Some Congress traits, such as indiscipline, were now affecting the BJP too “as many leaders of their party have joined us”, he added.
Later, he clarified that he was not talking about the Congress leaders who had joined the BJP. “I just said the wind of Congress culture touched us, bringing in a little indiscipline,” he said.
The result of various factions in the party pulling in different directions and blaming each other for the recent electoral rout is that, even more than a month after the election results were out, the BJP has not yet decided on the Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly.
The Congress, in the meantime, is unable to contain its glee at the BJP’s woes in the state and has released several humorous tweets.
“Looking at the way introspection meetings are taking place, it is possible that the BJP will die by suicide,” went one Congress tweet.
(With agency inputs)