Amidst the dissent brewing in BJP’s Karnataka unit, BJP Parliamentary Board member and former chief minister BS Yediyurappa has stepped up to resolve the disputes within the cadre and strengthen the party for the upcoming local body elections, as well as the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, by launching a Janandholana Yatra.
The BJP launched the Janandholana Yatra under the headship of Yediyurappa in Kolar on 17 September. This is the first such programme launched by the BJP after its debacle in the 2023 Karnataka Assembly polls.
Karnataka’s BJP unit
In the 2023 Assembly polls, BJP lost miserably against its arch rival Congress, with the saffron party getting a mere 66 seats and the latter winning a record 135 seats.
After the results of the Assembly elections, dissent broke out within the BJP cadre as many leaders, mainly the Yediyurappa faction, blamed the high command for reportedly forcing him to step down from the post of chief minister, sidelining Lingayat leaders, and issuing tickets to new faces in 72 Assembly seats.
Meanwhile, even after four months, the party’s central leadership has also failed to appoint the Leaders of Opposition for the Karnataka Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council, and also the state unit’s new president.
The party is also apprehensive about “Operation Hasta” — similar to the BJP’s “Operation Lotus” — as there is talk that several BJP leaders, including Yeshvanthapura MLA ST Somashekar and Yellapur MLA Shivaram Hebbar, are likely to defect to the Congress.
With an aim to resolve simmering dissent among the Karnataka BJP cadre and strengthen the party base for the upcoming local body and Lok Sabha elections, BJP veteran and former chief minister Yediyurappa has launched the Janandholana Yatra.
This yatra kickstarted in Kolar and will travel all the 31 districts of Karnataka for the next two to three months. This campaign is also aimed at highlighting the failures of the Siddaramaiah government since it assumed power in the state.
“As a part of this yatra, the party will hold meetings with all the local leaders of respective districts and address dissent ahead of the Zilla Panchayat, Taluk Panchayat, and Lok Sabha elections,” said BJP state general secretary and MLC N Ravikumar.
It may also be recalled that after talk about several leaders likely to quit the saffron party, Yediyurappa chaired a meeting with senior leaders and BJP MLAs at his residence in Bengaluru.
After the meeting, he exuded confidence that none of the party leaders will quit the party.
This yatra has been launched after Yediyurappa took part in the party’s Central Election Committee meeting under the headship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the party headquarters in Delhi on 14 September.
Participated in party’s Central Election Committee meeting held in New Delhi and chaired by the Hon’ble PM Shri @narendramodi Ji. Union Home Minister Shri @AmitShah Ji, party president Shri @JPNadda Ji and other members of the CEC were present. @BJP4India pic.twitter.com/SBcEeKmmWJ
— B.S.Yediyurappa (@BSYBJP) September 14, 2023
BJP senior leader and former deputy chief minister Govind Karjol told South First, “This yatra, under the headship of Yediyurappa, will tour all the 31 districts. This state-wide programme is aimed at strengthening the party base and resolving the disputes within the cadre in the respective districts.”
“Apart from that we will highlight the failure of the Congress government in the last 125 days. The ruling government is not working according to the emotions of the people and development works have come to a halt,” he said.
“The government is misusing its power and diverting the SCP/TSP funds in order to implement the guarantees. The government is anti-development, anti-Dalit, and anti-farmers. We will create awareness among people about maladministration of this government in this two-month yatra,” Karjol elaborated.
BJP banking on Yediyurappa
In order to change the party’s prospects ahead of the forthcoming local body elections and Lok Sabha elections, the party is once again banking on Lingayat strongman Yediyurappa in Karnataka.
After the party’s poor and forgettable performance in the Assembly elections, several leaders alleged that the party failed to win the elections because the high command sidelined Lingayats, mainly Yediyurappa, and a few leaders acted as per their whims and fancies while finalising the tickets.
Now, nearly five months after the Assembly polls, the party had launched its state tour under the headship of Yediyurappa to revive the cadre, ahead of the local body and Parliament elections.
On Yediyurappa spearheading the yatra, Karjol pointed out, “BS Yediyurappa is a senior leader and worked for the party for over five decades. He understands the people’s pulse more than any other leader in the party.”
“He will also address dissent in the cadre while touring the state. He will certainly play a key role for the party in the upcoming local body elections and Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka,” Karjol reiterated that Yediyurappa is a necessity for the party.
ಕಾಂಗ್ರೆಸ್ ಸರ್ಕಾರದ ವೈಫಲ್ಯ ಖಂಡಿಸಿ, ರೈತರ ಆತ್ಮಹತ್ಯೆ ಮತ್ತು ಬರ ಪರಿಸ್ಥಿತಿ ಅಧ್ಯಯನ ಕುರಿತು ರಾಜ್ಯವ್ಯಾಪಿ ಪ್ರವಾಸದ ಅಂಗವಾಗಿ ಇಂದು ಕೋಲಾರ ಜಿಲ್ಲೆ ಮುಳಬಾಗಿಲು ತಾಲೂಕಿನ ಕುರುಡುಮಲೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ನಡೆದ ಸಾರ್ವಜನಿಕ ಸಭೆಯನ್ನುದ್ದೇಶಿಸಿ ಮಾತನಾಡಲಾಯಿತು.
— Nalinkumar Kateel (@nalinkateel) September 17, 2023
Even BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel’s statement emphasised the importance of Yediyurappa in the party, he said, “We will make a successful tour again under the leadership of Yediyurappa. We will work to win all the 28 seats in the Lok Sabha elections.”
“We have launched the fight against the corrupt government. Congress has shown its mindset by releasing water (referring to Cauvery River). On the other hand, though cases have been registered against two Cabinet ministers, they did not resign. The case is being registered against the complainants,” Kateel fumed over the Siddaramaiah government administration.
BJP yet to appoint Opposition leader
Even as five months have passed since the results of the Assembly polls, the BJP’s central leadership is yet to appoint the Opposition Leader for both the Houses.
Hinting that these important appointments might delay further, MLC Ravikumar told South First, “We don’t have any idea about these two appointments. I would not like to comment on the matter.”
It may also be noted that former chief minister Bommai met the party’s high command, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah and party’s national president JP Nadda recently, at Delhi and urged them to fasten the process of these appointments.
However, the high command has not shown any signs of making these appointments at the earliest.