Issue may come for discussion on the sidelines of party’s national executive
The Bharatiya Janata Party State leaders are learnt to have decided to seek the advise of their high command on the suggestion by some leaders that they should convince the party’s former leader B. Sriramulu to merge his BSR Congress — which has four MLAs — with the BJP so that it could not only increase its strength, but also snatch the status of the Principal Opposition from the Janata Dal (Secular).
According to highly placed sources in the party, the leaders are expected to discuss the issue with the central leaders on the sidelines of the BJP national executive scheduled to be held in Goa on June 8 and 9. “We will go by whatever the stand the high command takes,” sources noted.
Though the BJP and the Janata Dal (Secular) have won equal number of seats, the JD(S) is ahead in terms of vote share. The JD(S) has got 20.09 per cent votes as against the BJP’s 19.97 per cent in the recent Assembly elections (barring election to Periyapatna seat which is going to polls on Tuesday).
“A section of the party leaders have expressed the view that the party should make efforts to convince Mr. Sriramulu to merge his political outfit into its fold. It is only a suggestion from individual leaders who are not very prominent. No serious or formal discussion have been held on the suggestion in the party forum,” sources in the BJP said.
“We have decided to discuss the issue with the central leaders and go by their advise as the issue has evoked mixed response from the party leaders even before any formal discussion within the party,” sources noted.
Those who support the suggestion feel that it is an opportunity for the party to strengthen its organisation ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. They have reportedly maintained that Mr. Sriramulu was not facing any cases related to illegal mining.
But those opposing it are learnt to have expressed reservation over the party’s image getting sullied due to such moves. They argue that though technically Mr. Sriramulu is not facing any cases related to illegal mining, it would be difficult to convince people about the issue as he is a close associate of the former minister G. Janardhan Reddy, who is lodged in jail in the wake of the CBI probe with respect to illegal mining.
Their main fear is that the efforts to include Mr. Sriramulu in the party fold may even boomerang and further affect the party’s image at a time when it is claiming that it has become clean after getting rid of leaders facing various charges.
As the opinion of leaders is divided even at the suggestion stage itself, the party has decided to discuss the issue with its central leaders and decide the future course of action as per their advise.
Interestingly, there is no unanimity even on the issue of whether the party should make efforts to woo the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa. “Neither is there any formal proposal nor discussion in this regard,” sources said and made it clear that the party would not raise the issue of Mr. Yeddyurappa with its central leaders at the national executive.