After its poor show in the 2023 Karnataka Assembly Polls, the BJP is gearing up for an organisation rejig and is likely to appoint a new chief for the state unit in a week.
In its first legislature party meeting, which is yet to be called, the party’s central leadership is expected to appoint the Leader of the Opposition and also the new state president.
What becomes of Nalin Kumar Kateel?
Karnataka’s BJP unit president and Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel is expected to be replaced as his three-year tenure as the party’s state head ended nine months ago — on 20 August, 2022.
With an eye on the Assembly polls, the party had extended Kateel’s tenure till the end of the elections.
Following its humiliating defeat in the elections, the party is all set to name a new head for its Karnataka unit.
Though Kateel has taken responsibility for the party’s election debacle, he is yet to resign from the post of state chief.
Kateel told reporters, “Being the state president, I take complete responsibility for the party’s performance in the Assembly elections. We will do an analysis of this result. We will accept the people’s mandate. Despite the BS Yediyurappa and Basavaraj Bommai government carrying out overall development works, the party lost the polls.”
Also read: BJP yet to appoint the Leader of the Opposition
New chief expected in a week
While the BJP is still in the process of introspecting on the results of the Karnataka Assembly elections, its central leadership is likely to appoint a new chief for the state unit in a week, party sources told South First.
BJP national general secretary CT Ravi, who lost from Chikkamagaluru, Union Minister of State for Agriculture Shobha Karandlaje, who represents the Udupi Lok Sabha seat, Vijayapura City MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, Karkal MLA V Sunil Kumar, and BJP state general secretary and MLC N Ravikumar are the names making the rounds among the saffron cadre.
The one person in @BJP4India who doesn’t want to come back to State politics right now is @ShobhaBJP. As her name makes the rounds for new @BJP4Karnataka president, MoS Agriculture is keen on keeping focus on her ministry.
— Anusha Ravi Sood (@anusharavi10) May 23, 2023
The BJP high command is likely to announce the new state president in the legislature party meeting, which could be held in a week.
Ravikumar told South First, “The party is expected to appoint a new head for the state unit as the term of the incumbent president (Kateel) ended long ago. The party is yet to begin the process to elect the new state president. The decision is likely to be taken during the legislature party meeting. Along with electing the Leader of the Opposition, the party will also name the new chief for the cadre.”
He added: “Shobha Karandlaje, CT Ravi, Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, and Sunil Kumar are the frontrunners. The party might also surprise everyone by appointing another efficient leader from the cadre.”
Asked whether he was also a contender, he said, “I have worked for the party. The decision is left with the high command.”
Former minister Sunil Kumar told South First, “I am not the frontrunner; my name is in the last. I have sincerely worked for the party. We will see what decision the high command takes on the matter.”
Also read: BJP lost deposits in 31 constituencies in Karnataka elections
Preparing for Lok Sabha elections
With less than a year left for the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP wants to be is gearing up for it.
Last week, Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi told reporters, “We are gearing up for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and we will register a thumping victory.”
Political commentators claim that the BJP appointing a new chief for its state unit will play a key role in the Lok Sabha elections.
“The division of Lingayat votes was one of the biggest setbacks for the BJP in this election. The party knows it very well,” said political observer Ashok Chandaragi.
He added, “There are chances that the party high command will make efforts to appease the community by appointing a senior leader from the community as the head of the state party unity, ahead of the general elections.”
He also said: “How to get Lingayat votes into the BJP fold is the main agenda for the state BJP unit as well as the high command. It is a challenge for the BJP central leadership to woo the Lingayat votes in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.”