Karnataka Energy Minister K. S. Eshwarappa, a backward class leader and staunch RSS activist, was unanimously elected the President of the state unit of the ruling BJP on Thursday.

BJP National General Secretary V. K. Goel, also in-charge of party affairs in Karnataka, announced the election of Mr. Eshwarappa, who was the only nomination filed for the post, at a press conference here.

According to party sources, Mr. Eshwarappa is likely to give up his ministerial post following his election as State unit chief.

Mr. Eshwarappa has had uneasy relationship with Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa and had expressed reservations over his son B. Y. Raghavendra’s nomination as the party’s candidate in last year’s Lok Sabha elections, raising the issue of dynastic politics.

A senior BJP leader, Mr. Eshwarappa belongs to the backward Kuruba community, which form the third largest chunk of the State’s population after Lingayats and Vokaligas.

The move to bring him back as the state unit chief, a post he had held in 1993 and 1995, is seen as part of the BJP’s strategy to counter opposition Congress leader in the assembly Siddaramaiah, who also hails from the same community.

Mr. Eshwarappa, who will have a three-year term, succeeds Sadananda Gowda, a Lok Sabha member, whose term as the State unit chief ended last year.