Party swings into damage control, fills vacancies caused by the exodus

The former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa has dealt a severe blow to the Bharatiya Janata Party in the district by luring many of its functionaries to the newly formed Karnataka Janata Paksha. The exodus of a majority of BJP’s office-bearers has prompted the party to undertake the damage-control exercise.

Mr. Yeddyurappa had played a crucial role in bringing leaders from the Congress to the BJP in the district during the last Parliamentary elections. His son B.Y. Raghavendra had contested the election from Shimoga segment then. The former minister K.H. Srinivas, former member of zilla panchayat B.R. Jayanth, who has a clout in Sagar region, and president of District Central Cooperative Bank R.M. Manjunatha Gowda were some prominent Congress leaders who had jumped the bandwagon then.

Mr. Yeddyurappa had rewarded these leaders by offering plum posts in the party and in the government. With the backing of Mr. Yeddyurappa, Mr. Gowda had become the president of Karnataka State Cooperative Apex Bank while Mr. Jayanth was nominated member of the Karnataka State Planning Board. After Mr. Yeddyurappa severed ties with the BJP, these leaders have joined the KJP. The BJP functionaries of Shikaripur and Sorab taluk units have resigned en masse to their posts and have joined the KJP. The BJP unit in Sagar taluk has experienced an upheaval.

Stunned by the developments, the district unit of the BJP has swung into action. R.K. Siddaramanna, president of the district unit of the party and MLC, told The Hindu that the vacancies caused by the resignation of office-bearers in Shikaripur, Sorab, and Sagar taluk units of the party had been filled.

To infuse confidence among the party cadre and the office-bearers, the BJP had organised a convention of the party functionaries in the city on December 2. Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, Deputy Chief Minister K.S. Eshwarappa, and the national general secretary of the party Ananth Kumar had attended the convention. Without taking the name of KJP, Mr. Shettar had said the regional political parties would not be accepted by the people of Karnataka.

Interestingly, the BJP in Shimoga Assembly segment represented by Mr. Eshwarappa had not been affected by the recent turmoil. All the key functionaries of the BJP have remained loyal to the party here. Member of Rajya Sabha Ayanur Manjunath and Shimoga Rural MLA K.G. Kumaraswamy, who were the camp followers of Mr. Yeddyurappa till recently, have stayed with the party.

Mr. Yeddyurappa who is aware that Shimoga is a strong bastion of the BJP had conducted a meeting of his followers here on November 28 and 29. During the meeting, Mr. Yeddyurappa had spoken in detail the infrastructure upgrade works he had initiated in the city during his tenure as Chief Minister. Following his public sparring with Mr. Eshwarappa, Mr. Yeddyurappa now wanted to ensure that the Deputy Chief Minister lost his seat.

  • Mr. Yeddyurappa had brought many Congress leaders to the BJP during the 2009 elections

  • The BJP functionaries of Shikaripur and Sorab taluk units have resigned en masse