BJP chintan baitak ends even before it begins

Two-day meet wound up abruptly to prevent showdown

The BJP’s two-day chintan baitak on Friday and Saturday was supposed to teach morality and discipline to its members.

But the intense power struggle among various factions of the State party literally tore the meeting apart. And it all happened in the presence of the party national president Nitin Gadkari.

The bitter tussle between the two factions of the party –– one led by former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and another by party State president K S Eshwarappa –– has made the organisers jittery about its success. The acrimony between leaders was so severe that they refused to see eye to eye. While Yeddyurappa has been making all-out efforts to regain the chief minister’s post, Eshwarappa, along with Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, has been successfully spiking his plans.

Leaders of both the factions arrived at the venue –– a resort off Hosur Road –– in separate groups. Yeddyurappa arrived with his close aides Basavaraj Bommai, M P Renukacharya, C M Udasi, Shobha Karandlaje and others, while Eshwarappa and Sadananda Gowda accompanied Gadkari to the venue. A team of MLAs led by Balachandra Jarkiholi also arrived separately.

Sensing the tense mood, the organisers immediately decided to cut short the two-day event to one day, just before the inauguration. The party had organised lecture programmes by prominent party and RSS leaders on maintaining discipline in public life.

The aim was to educate the leaders about the basic tenets of the party. The event was planned in the wake of the party’s image taking a severe beating following three ministers caught on camera watching porn clips in the Assembly recently.

All the three tainted former ministers – Lakshman Savadi, C C Patil and Krishna Palemar – attended the meeting. Besides, former minister G Karunakara Reddy, who has been sulking after the arrest of his brother, former minister G Janardhana Reddy, sat in the front row.

Sources said the disgruntled Yeddyurappa faction, which had got a hint of Gadkari’s decision had planned to boycott the baitak soon after the inauguration. Gadkari was scheduled to fly back to Delhi after inaugurating the meeting.

To prevent any loss of face, it was decided to abruptly end the meeting after the inauguration. The moment the meeting was cut short, all members of the Yedyurappa faction left the venue even before Gadkari did. However, the party leaders, including Gadkari and Eshwarappa, claimed that the meeting was postponed so that all leaders could concentrate on the upcoming byelection to the Udupi-Chikmagalur parliamentary seat.

Even the inauguration of the meeting was delayed by one and a half hours owing to the crisis in the party.

Gadkari, who was scheduled to inaugurate the meeting at 10 am, arrived about 45 minutes late as he was holding a meeting with Yeddyurappa to solve the crisis.
Soon after he arrived, he went into a huddle with Sadananda Gowda, Eshwarappa and the party national general secretary Ananth Kumar. Gadkari emerged from the meeting at about 11.30 am and inaugurated the event.

Not just Gadkari, several party leaders, including former minister Aravind Limbavali, Revu Nayak Belamagi and party MP from Chitradurga, Janardhana Swamy, arrived late to the meeting. Another MLA,  M P Kumaraswamy arrived at 12.15 pm, when the meeting was almost over. Home Minister R Ashoka was outside the hall for most part of the meeting, trying to gather information on the latest political developments.

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