Yeddyurappa dares BJP leadership to act against his loyalists taking part in the convention

The presence of BJP legislators at a convention here on Sunday, where the former Chief Minister and Lingayat strongman B.S. Yeddyurappa took over the reins of the Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP), has raised doubts over the survival of the BJP government led by Jagadish Shettar.

Mr. Yeddyurappa has promised that he will ensure the welfare of all sections if the party is voted to power in 2013. Mr. Yeddyurappa’s association with the KJP is likely to usher in a new dynamics of caste in the State politics. The tone and tenor of Mr. Yeddyurappa’s speech at the mammoth rally indicated an early fall of the government.

Defy warning

More than a dozen MLAs and six MLCs attended the rally, defying the warning of disciplinary action issued by the BJP leadership. KJP leaders dared the BJP leadership to take action against legislators who participated in the convention.

Earlier in the day, 23 MLAs, including seven Ministers — C.M. Udasi, Basavaraj Bommai, Sunil Valyapure, M.P. Renukacharya, Revu Naik Belmagi, Shobha Karandlaje and Murugesh Nirani — attended a breakfast meeting held at the residence of Shivaraj Sajjanar, MLC. Heads of 10 government-run corporations also attended the meeting presided over by Mr. Yeddyurappa.

Knowing well that the survival of the Shettar government depended on the support of his loyalists, the former Chief Minister challenged the BJP central leadership to take action against the legislators who participated in the Sunday’s programme.

Already, the BJP leadership has dismissed Cooperation Minister B.J. Puttaswamy and suspended Tumkur MP G.S. Basavaraj for indulging in “anti-party activities”.

The ongoing winter session of the legislature is likely to witness uproarious scenes on Monday following 14 MLAs’ demonstration solidarity with the KJP. How much Mr. Yeddyurappa would make the KJP a force to reckon with will be known only in the days to come, but there were enough indications at the Haveri rally that he is seeking to broaden his support base to win the hearts of the people of the State, yet again.

‘Secular credentials’

Shedding the saffron image that he had built over the past four decades, Mr. Yeddyurappa on Sunday flaunted “secular credentials” by roping in Christian and Muslim leaders. Michael B. Fernandes, formerly with the Janata Dal (U), and Jabbar Khan Honnalli, who was earlier with the Congress, and Mumtaz Ali Khan, former BJP Minister, were present at the rally. Even the background of the stage had portraits of a temple, a church and a mosque.

However, the party is largely banking on the votes of Lingayats. Presence of a large number of legislators and ex-legislators belonging to the Lingayat community provided enough proof in this regard.

Need for regional party

Citing the prominence of regional parties in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, the KJP strongly argued that the party was a necessity in Karnataka to get its due share of Central funds. State governments ruled by national parties were helpless in this regard, a KJP leader argued.

Statewide tour

Mr. Yeddyurappa, who will be launching his Statewide tour from Basavakalyan, has claimed credit for all popular schemes implemented by the BJP government in the last over four years. At the convention, he spoke about welfare schemes such as providing bicycles to schoolchildren, Bhagyalaxmi, Suvarna Bhoomi, and extending farm loans at zero per cent interest.

The KJP has promised that people-friendly schemes will be implemented if the party is voted to power in the next election. Only time would tell how things will shape up for the KJP in the days ahead.

More In: Karnataka | National | States | News