The former Chief Minister, B.S. Yeddyurappa, formally took over the reins of the Karnataka Janata Paksha at a convention here on Sunday with a call to the gathering to support him in building the outfit.

Over two lakh people attended the convention, besides some BJP legislators, its office-bearers and members, and also leaders of the Congress and Janata Dal (S), including K.H. Srinivas, B.R. Patil, Jabbar Khan Honnalli, Basavaraj Patil Anwari, Gurupadappa Nagamarapalli and Madhuswamy.

“I want to field candidates in all the 224 Assembly constituencies in the State. I want you to form committees, comprising members of every section of society to choose good candidates for contesting the polls. I will come to your place and choose the right candidate after consultations with you,” he said.

The former Chief Minister took on the BJP leadership and Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar for saying that action would be taken against legislators who attended the convention.

“First, D.V. Sadananda Gowda cheated me, and now Jagadish Shettar, whom I made Chief Minister, is talking about taking action against my loyalists. They should know that their government is running because of the support of my followers. If they have any problems, let them recommend dissolution of the House and seek a fresh mandate,” Mr. Yeddyurappa said, while seeking the resignation of Mr. Shettar.

Listing his achievements while he was Chief Minister, Mr. Yeddyurappa elaborated on how he helped various sections of society. Those who were upset about his “tremendous growth and popularity” had “backstabbed” him and he was asked to step down based on allegations that were yet to be proved.

Mr. Yeddyurappa said his party would be built on the “gram rajya” concept of Mahatma Gandhi, and try to create a society that was free of exploitation as dreamt by B.R. Ambedkar. “I will also try to make the dreams of Jaya Prakash Narayan come true,” he said.

He concluded his speech quoting a Kannada poem which talks of building a new state (Kattuvevu hosa nadondannu).

Earlier, speakers including Mr. Jabbar Khan Honnalli, Michael Fernandes, Mr. Srinivas, B.R. Patil, film stars Doddanna and Pooja Gandhi, showered praise on Mr. Yeddyurappa.

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