Some leaders show interest in inviting the former Chief Minister

The former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, whose party, Karnataka Janata Paksha, won six seats and contributed to the defeat of the Bharatiya Janata Party in a large number of constituencies in the Assembly elections, may now have to face another battle of sorts with the BJP launching a process to re-include his supporters to its fold in a bid to rebuild the party organisation ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

After the Assembly election results showed that the three-way split in the party, especially after Mr. Yeddyurappa quit, had affected the party’s performance, several leaders of the BJP are saying that there is a need for uniting the splinter groups so that the party can improve its performance in the Lok Sabha elections.

But the BJP leadership wants to tread cautiously on the issue of bringing back the estranged leaders, including Mr. Yeddyurappa, as it fears that such a step may not help improve its image.

In such a scenario, the BJP has started wooing Mr. Yeddyurappa’s supporters — which, the leaders feel, is a better option for the party.

“A large number of his supporters from several districts have been sending feelers to us ever since the Assembly election results were announced. They are concerned about their political future as the KJP is too small a player. As they are primarily from the BJP background, they are eager to rejoin it. We have started the process of re-including such people in several districts,” sources in the BJP said.

“But we are conscious of the fact that the negative image too was one of the main reasons that contributed to our defeat. Hence, we are choosy when it comes to re-including his (Mr. Yeddyurappa) supporters and we are looking at it on a case-by-case basis,” the sources noted.

Interestingly, the BJP has been including Mr. Yeddyurappa’s grassroots supporters who actually played a crucial role in building the Karnataka Janata Paksha, and not the elected representatives as the party does not want to land in further controversies.

What is curious is that the process of re-including Mr. Yeddyurappa’s supporters in the party has been a low-key affair as most people who are coming back are only local leaders. “But they will be of a great help for us to improve our performance in those constituencies,” the sources said.

It is learnt that the BJP leadership wants to increase its vote share, which crashed to a low of 19.97 per cent, by wooing Mr. Yeddyurappa’s supporters.

At an introspection session on Wednesday, some of the party leaders are learnt to have expressed a view that the party could improve its performance in the Lok Sabha elections by inviting Mr. Yeddyurappa back into the party. However, reacting to this, party State unit president Pralhad Joshi reportedly said that there was no such proposal before the party now as Mr. Yeddyurappa has announced that he will not rejoin the BJP.

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