'Come elections, 60 BJP MLAs will join my party'

'Come elections, 60 BJP MLAs will join my party'

Rally at Haveri will be a testimony to my support base: Yeddyurappa

'Come elections, 60 BJP MLAs will join my party'

Former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa will be formally launching his new political outfit - Karnataka Janata Party - in Haveri on December 9.

Ahead of the much-hyped political convention, in an interview with Deccan Herald on Thursday, Yeddyurappa gave insights into his four decades of association with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), his support base, future game-plan and the emerging political power play in the state.  

At what point of time did you decide to quit the BJP and launch your own political party?
It was around five months ago that I found the atmosphere in the BJP too suffocating to continue and took a decision that I will no longer associate myself with the party.

The BJP central leadership always desired that I dance to their tunes. Even as chief minister, I was not allowed to take decisions independently. At the state level, K S Eshwarappa and H N Ananth Kumar hatched conspiracies against me. I was made to look like a culprit.

You claim to have the support of 70 MLAs. With that number you could have fought your opponents by staying in the party.

When the central leadership itself does not keep its word, what’s the point in continuing in such a party? BJP President Nitin Gadkari had promised me that I would be made State president within 24 hours after I stepped down as chief minister.

Besides, we badly need a regional party to protect the interests of the state. Be it the Cauvery issue, allocation of power from the national grid, classical language status to Kannada, allocation of funds for drought and flood relief, injustice is being meted out to the state.

But, you are on record having stated in the Assembly that regional parties (read JD-S) had become a curse and needed to be rooted out.

I do not deny having said that. But, the situation has changed. National parties are becoming defunct. It is because of regional parties that the UPA is in power at the Centre today.  

How many MLAs/ ministers from the BJP will join the KJP?

I did not float the KJP by solely depending on my MLAs and ministers. I will give priority to new faces and, have started shortlisting candidates for around 100 constituencies. We installed Jagadish Shettar as chief minister and want him to complete his tenure. But, once the elections are announced 50 to 60 MLAs, including ministers, will join the KJP.

Will these MLAs/ministers participate in the December 9 Haveri rally?

I have told them not to attend. However, if some of them voluntarily come and share the dais with me, I cannot do anything. I am not anticipating anything.

If there is a hung assembly, will your party enter into an alliance to form a coalition government?

I do not think that situation will arise. I have never gone wrong in my political calculations. Ahead of the Assembly polls in 2008, I predicted that the BJP will get around 115 seats and the assessment proved correct.

In the present political scenario I am confident that KJP will get absolute majority.

But how will you muster the numbers? Your support base is confined only to certain belts in the state.

The Haveri programme will be a witness to my support base. It will be an unprecedented show of strength by a party in the history of Karnataka politics.

What about urban pockets and Bangalore. Can KJP win in these constituencies?

At present, I am not concentrating on Bangalore. After the legislature session, I plan to hold a separate a convention there.

There is a perception that after becoming chief minister you have emerged as the leader of one community.

Give me one instance during my tenure as CM to prove that I favoured one community. All my programmes, be it Bhagyalakshmi scheme, old age pension, milk subsidy for farmers, were for the benefit of all.

It is heard in political circles that you have arrived at an understanding with Congress so that CBI goes slow on the cases against you.

The CBI has already filed the charge-sheet against me. I have full faith in the judiciary. I will come out clean. I do not need the help of anyone.

Who do you consider your main rival in the Assembly polls — the BJP, Congress or the JD(S)?

It is too early to have a take on that.