KARNATAKA

BJP tries to send a message

B.S. Satish Kumar

Eshwarappa set to take over as BJP State unit chief



Election of president of State unit of the party advanced to January 28

It is said that by appointing Eshwarappa, BJP is trying to counter the influence of Siddaramaiah



BANGALORE: Energy Minister K.S. Eshwarappa, who is set to become the Bharatiya Janata Party State unit president on January 28, is said to have decided to quit the Cabinet on the same day.

Sources close to Mr. Eshwarappa said he had already commenced shifting of his belongings from the ministerial quarters to his private residence. The election for the party president’s post, which was earlier scheduled for January 30, has been advanced to January 28. His election now appears to be only a formality, as the party has already declared that the next president would be a “unanimous choice.”

According to BJP sources, the proposed appointment of Mr. Eshwarappa for the top State unit post is a message to both the dissidents in the party as well as Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa. The party organisation is trying to check dissidence by a section of loyal party members through the appointment of a hard core Sangh Parivar man like Mr. Eshwarappa.

The proposed appointment of an assertive leader like Mr. Eshwarappa, who had some time ago dared to take on Mr. Yeddyurappa with respect to a matter related to low voter turnout in parliamentary polls in Shimoga, is also being viewed as an attempt to prevent the Chief Minister from taking any “unilateral decisions.” Party insiders are terming the choice of a domineering leader like Mr. Eshwarappa for the party organisational post as an indication that the party wants to improve its presence in the government in the wake of allegations from long-time party workers that they feel alienated from the Government.

A senior party functionary said it was Mr. Eshwarappa’s seniority which swung the balance in his favour. It is also said that through the appointment of Mr. Eshwarappa, who belongs to a backward Kuruba community, the ruling BJP is trying to counter the influence of the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah, who also hails from the same community.

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