BSY may end up being State's Keshubhai

Lingayats angry with Yeddyurappa for creating hurdles to Shettar

Will B S Yeddyurappa’s KJP (Karnataka Janata Party) meet the same fate as GPP (Gujarat Parivarthan Party) of Keshubhai Patel in Gujarat?

The State political circles are abuzz with speculation on the fate of KJP, following the GPP’s dismal performance in the Gujarat polls. The party managed to win just two seats, while Chief Minister Narendra Modi of the BJP registered a hat-trick victory.

Both the leaders have many things in common: They both are rebel BJP leaders, both are former chief ministers, claim the backing of a prominent community and have launched their own political outfits.

Keshubhai belongs to the prominent Patel community, which has a sizeable population in Saurashtra region of Gujarat. He actually held sway among his community members before quitting the BJP in 2001. Based on his community backing, Keshubhai floated his own party.

Many political analysts believed that even if the GPP fails to win enough seats in the Saurashtra region, it would certainly succeed in polarising the Patel community votes and cause damage to the ruling BJP.

But the election results proved otherwise, with a majority of the community people strongly backing Modi.

According to sources in the Karnataka unit of the BJP, the Patel community saw Modi as pro-development and Keshubhai as anti-development. Hence, they favoured the former.

Similarly, the Lingayat community in Karnataka (Yeddyurappa belongs to the Lingayat community), especially in north Karnataka region has started believing that Yeddyurappa has been obstructing Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar in running the government, they argued.

Moreover, BJP sources said, Shettar not only belongs to the same community, but hails from north Karnataka. So, people of north Karnataka are disappointed with Yeddyurappa and this will have a bearing on the next Assembly elections in the State.

The term of the Shettar government ends in May next year.

Leaders in the KJP, however, do not buy this argument nor do they think that the KJP will meet the same fate as GPP. Keshubhai, they argue, was away from politics for nearly 12 years, while Yeddyurappa has been active in the State politics. Besides, Karnataka currently does not have a charismatic leader like Modi.

KJP leader Dhananjay Kumar said unlike Keshubhai, Yeddyurappa is a strong contender for the post of chief minister in Karnataka.

“The BJP in Karnataka is nothing without Yeddyurappa. It was Modi’s personal victory in Gujarat and not the BJP’s. In fact, Yeddyurappa will emerge as Narendra Modi of Karnataka,” he said.

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