Even as the central leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party agreed to initiate a dialogue with him in a bid to retain him in the party fold, the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa has convened a luncheon meeting of his supporters on November 6 to know exactly how many of them are willing to join his proposed political outfit.
Expelled BJP leader and Mr. Yeddyurappa’s spokesperson V. Dhananjay Kumar told The Hindu that the proposed meeting to be held in Bangalore on November 6 would also discuss the issues related to organising a convention in Haveri to launch the new party.
While the anti-Yeddyurappa camp suspects that the proposed luncheon meeting could be another exercise to build pressure on the party central leadership, Mr. Dhananjay Kumar asserted that there was no question of Mr. Yeddyurappa reconsidering his decision to quit the BJP. Though the former Chief Minister’s close aides themselves are in the forefront of efforts to convince him to retain in the party fold, Mr. Kumar said Mr. Yeddyurappa was now focussing on launching of new political outfit Karnataka Janata Paksha.
Firm on stand
Speaking to presspersons at Haveri after inspecting the G.H. College Grounds, venue for his “December-10 convention”, from where he is supposed to launch his new regional party, Mr. Yeddyurappa said there was no change in his stance on launching a new regional outfit and the question of stepping back doesn’t arise.
Referring to the efforts being made by State BJP leaders for retaining him in the party, which had led to doubts among his supporters about his decision to launch a new party, Mr. Yeddyurappa said: “Many people have the doubt that Yeddyurappa is threatening to launch the new party for the sake of getting suitable position in BJP. I don’t have any such desire and there is no need for me to threaten BJP for the sake of getting position. I have already come too far and there is no question of going back.”
‘Projecting me as villain’
Mr. Yeddyurappa said that several people, including some of his supporters, were making efforts to retain him in BJP, which was in vain. “Some of them are conspiring to project me as a villain before the people. Their effort is to create an impression that even though I was offered a position in the party I didn’t accept it,” he said.
Mr. Yeddyurappa appealed to his supporters, including MLAs and Ministers, not to coerce him to continue in the BJP. “Those who have faith in me can come with me. Otherwise they are free to remain in the party or join any party of their choice. I will not pressure anyone to come along with me,” he said.
He said that his wish was that over 70 MLAs and Ministers who were supporting him should participate in the Haveri convention on December 10. “However we are contemplating on what will be the impact of it if they participate and how to manage it,” he said.
Mr Yeddyurappa clarified that Mr. Jagadish Shettar had been made Chief Minister to ensure the BJP government completed its term. “However till the completion of the term, it is inevitable for MLAs and Ministers supporting me to play the double role,” he said.
“Mr Shettar’s government should complete its term and the organisational activities to build my regional party should also happen. MLAs and Ministers supporting me will efficiently handle both the responsibilities”, he said.
Accompanied by his son B.. Raghavendra, MLAs Nehru Olekar, B.P. Harish, MLC Shivaraj Sajjanar, the former MLA U.B. Banakar, Mr Yeddyurappa went around the G.H. College grounds.