Key BJP leaders hold talks with him on merger modalities

The decks were cleared for the re-entry of the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa into the Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday, with key members of the party’s highest decision-making body of the core committee holding formal discussions with him on several issues, including the modalities of merging his Karnataka Janata Paksha with the BJP.

Sources in the BJP said such a process had been taken up after the party central leadership gave the green signal to his re-inclusion. The meeting between Mr. Yeddyurappa and BJP leaders, which took place after a gap of more than one year, is also being seen as an effort to break the ice.

The meeting was held at a star hotel in the city and was attended by BJP core committee members Ananth Kumar, Pralhad Joshi, Jagadish Shettar and K.S. Eshwarappa. The meeting was preceded by separate meetings of the BJP’s core committee and political affairs committee.

The leaders also decided to take up a joint tour of the State as part of the preparations for the coming Lok Sabha elections.

Mr. Yeddyurappa, who led the party to its first victory in the State in 2008 and became the Chief Minister, had turned a rebel after the party leadership forced him to step down following his indictment in the Karnataka Lokayukta’s report on illegal mining. He quit the party in November 2012 and became the State president of the KJP after the BJP took a stand of not giving him any top position till he was cleared of the cases related to alleged corruption.

Meanwhile, the BJP has decided to stage a Statewide protest on January 6, against the inclusion of D.K. Shivakumar and R. Roshan Baig — who are facing various charges — into the Ministry.

Briefing presspersons after the core committee meeting, BJP State president Pralhad Joshi said party workers would sport black badges on that day at all the district centres.

The BJP Yuva Morcha would protest against the increase in the price of non-subsidised cooking gas on Friday, while the party’s Mahila Morcha would register their protest on January 8 at all the Assembly constituencies, he said.

Meanwhile, the party has decided to hold consultations with the core committees of its district units on January 9 and 10 to decide the first list of candidates for the LS elections. The names of candidates would be recommended to the party national election committee by January 15 or 16, he said.

The party will also launch a door-to-door campaign from January 15 to 30 as part of its poll campaign. During this process, the party will take up a drive to include new names in the electoral rolls, he said.

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