Gowda gone, Yeddyurappa reigns supreme in BJP

Gowda gone, Yeddyurappa reigns supreme in BJP

Shettar is on his side and Eshwarappa is not much of a threat

Supporters of former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa are brimming with confidence. After all, their leader has now taken centrestage.

Sadananda Gowda, who was not so approachable to them, has stepped down. With this, factionalism in the party seems to have subsided, but not disappeared altogether.

With Shettar now on his side, Yeddyurappa does not have a potential rival who can lead a rebellion against him. In other words, power will be centred around him. Though State party chief K S Eshwarappa has been Yeddyurappa’s detractor for long, he has never openly revolted against him as he kept switching sides.

The ministers and the party leaders who backed Gowda in the recent power struggle have either chosen to lie low or are planning to align with Yeddyurappa.

Some of these ministers are keeping their fingers crossed hoping that they will be retained in the Shettar Cabinet. The meetings of the leaders are either now happening at the party office or at the residence of Yeddyurappa.

Soon after coming to power, the BJP in the State was divided among three factions – Yeddyurappa faction, Janardhana Reddy faction and the neutral faction.

With the downfall of Reddy over illegal mining, the party was left with two factions – one centred around Shettar and another led by Yeddyurappa.

Shettar and Yeddyurappa were always seen as poles apart.

Yeddyurappa has been the undisputed leader of the BJP as well as of the Lingayats.

Circumstances have forced him to allow Shettar, a north Karnataka Lingayat leader, to occupy the chief minister’s gaddi.

Yeddyurappa had initially checkmated Shettar by forcing him to become the Assembly Speaker (an apolitical post). But Shettar re-emerged in the political arena by staging a rebellion against Yeddyurappa with the help of the Reddy brothers among others, and became a minister.

Shettar, who is also a Lingayat like Yeddyurappa, staked claim for the chief minister’s post after Yeddyurappa stepped down with a taint of illegal mining. All those in the neutral faction extended their support to Shettar. However, Yeddyurappa ensured that the man of his choice (Sadananda Gowda) succeeded him.

When Gowda subsequently turned against Yeddyurappa, Shettar aligned with Yeddyurappa. Gowda, in turn, became the leader of a faction that was against Yeddyurappa.

With Gowda’s exit, the faction has almost become non-existent. Currently, apart from Yeddyurappa, there are only a few influential leaders in the party, like Eshwarappa, who have political clout.

However, a small group of MLAs led by Balachandra Jarkiholi, who had been supporting Gowda till recently and had even threatened to pull down the government if Gowda was removed, is now lying low.

A section of BJP leaders believe that this group is controlled by the JD(S), and it may create trouble for the Yeddyurappa-controlled State BJP in the coming days. Yeddyurappa will continue to occupy the centrestage provided the inquiries he is facing do not keep him occupied too much.

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