The former Chief Minister and Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) president B.S. Yeddyurappa has said that the decision to join the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and fight the Lok Sabha elections was taken “keeping in mind the interest of the country”.

He said that nobody from the BJP had formally invited him to join the NDA.

“I took this decision in tune with the demand of the people, particularly youths rooting for Narendra Modi to become Prime Minister.”

‘No merger’

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, Mr. Yeddyurappa said he hadn’t spoken to Mr. Modi in this regard. However, he made it clear that the KJP would not merge with the BJP and would retain its identity.

Mr. Yeddyurappa said he had to change his stand on the need for regional parties to protect the interests of the State after the party fared badly in the last Assembly elections. “Regional parties, on their own, are not in a position to save the country from the present crisis created by the UPA government. They have to join hands with national parties.”

Asked about opposition to the move to join the NDA by the majority of the six party MLAs, Mr. Yeddyurappa said that he was confident of ironing out their differences.

To a question on how he felt about joining hands with the BJP which had levelled corruption charges against him, Mr. Yeddyurappa said the allegations were made with the aim of ruining him politically. “I am confident that my innocence will be proved in court.”

‘Nothing wrong’

Mr. Yeddyurappa was in the city to address a party workers’ meet and participate in the Dasara Darbar celebrations of the Balehonnur Rambhapuri Jagadguru Veerasomeshwara Rajadeshikendra Shivacharya at Jewargi town in the district. He said he was an ardent follower of the seer and had been participating in the Dasara Darbar for 20 years. Mr. Yeddyurappa said that he did not see anything wrong in the observance of Adda Pallakki utsav during which the seer will be carried in a palanquin by followers. It will be held on October 14.

“Nobody should have any objection to traditional religious practice...”