Karnataka: BJP keen to have more ‘ghar wapsi’ in the days to come

While it is learnt that efforts to bring back former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar had been going on for ‘at least three months’, the elevation of Vijayendra as party president hastened the process

Updated - January 27, 2024 10:10 am IST

Published - January 25, 2024 09:01 pm IST - Bengaluru

Former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar rejoins the BJP in the presence of party leaders J.P. Nadda, B.S. Yediyurappa, B.Y. Vijayendra, and Bhupender Yadav, in New Delhi on Thursday.

Former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar rejoins the BJP in the presence of party leaders J.P. Nadda, B.S. Yediyurappa, B.Y. Vijayendra, and Bhupender Yadav, in New Delhi on Thursday. | Photo Credit: ANI

Former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar’s return to the BJP on Thursday is being seen as a larger effort to bring back leaders who quit the party for various reasons, and part of the national “ghar wapsi” outreach initiated by the party ahead of the crucial parliamentary polls to be held in April/May this year.

Over the next few weeks, BJP sources claim that many more leaders are expected to rejoin the party across the country.

While it is learnt that the efforts to bring back Mr. Shettar had been going on for “at least three months” now, the elevation of B.Y. Vijayendra, son of former Chief Minister and Lingayat leader B.S. Yediyurappa, as party president, hastened the process. Sources said Mr. Shettar himself “could not adjust” to the Congress, and was ready to come back.

Also read: Jagadish Shettar re-joining the BJP will not impact the Congress, says Satish Jarkiholi

Though Mr. Shettar, who till recently insisted that he would not return to the BJP, is tight-lipped about his future, party sources said that he is likely to be fielded in the Lok Sabha elections. There are a couple of constituencies that are being considered, including Belagavi, and the decision will be taken later, sources said.

Others ‘in touch’

Among others who claim to be in touch with the party president and Mr. Yediyurappa include former Deputy Chief Minister and Congress MLA from Athani Laxman Savadi and Kalyana Rajya Pragathi Paksha founder and former Minister G. Janardhana Reddy. Party sources said that Mr. Vijayendra is in touch with the two while the Central leaders are also playing part. Incidentally, Mr. Savadi met Deputy Chief Minister and KPCC President D.K. Shivakumar in Bengaluru on Thursday. Mr. Shivakumar also denied that any one else is going to the BJP from the Congress.

Recovering lost ground

Ahead of the Assembly polls, the exit of Mr. Shettar, a Banajiga Lingayat, and Mr. Savadi, a Ganiga Lingayat, and the sidelining of Mr. Yediyurappa was widely believed to have affected the Lingayat goodwill for the party. Several leaders had blamed these two exits for the BJP’s losses in many Lingayat-dominated constituencies in the Assembly elections.

“The party is hoping to recover the lost ground in the community by bringing back these leaders and appointing Mr. Vijayendra as the party president. The party hopes to capitalise on ‘ghar wapsi’ and the fervour surrounding the Ram Mandir inauguration at Ayodhya in the elections,” party sources said. A Congress source said that these developments in connection with Lingayat community should be seen in the light of the government declaring Basavanna as the “cultural leader” of the State. Efforts are on by both parties to keep the community in good humour.

The party’s chief Spokesperson M.G. Mahesh said: “Many more are expected to come back to the BJP in the coming days. Those who believe in the BJP ideology and willing to come back will be screened before being re-admitted.”

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