Yeddyurappa plays hardball on rejoining BJP

Former chief minister sets preconditions for his homecoming

Yeddyurappa plays  hardball on rejoining BJP

Efforts process to bring back former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa to the BJP fold went a step ahead on Thursday. The State committee of the KJP is understood to have finalised certain conditions for the merger of the two parties.

At the same time, KJP said it was ready for an electoral alliance with the BJP for the Lok Sabha polls.

Sources close to Yeddyurappa said it was a matter of time before the merger happened, but the former chief minister did not want it to look like he was submitting himself meekly.

Yeddyurappa also wanted to ensure that the BJP was not utilising him just to boost its prospects in the Lok Sabha polls and later sideline him.

At the day-long meeting presided over by Yeddyurappa, it was reportedly deliberated that the KJP should not succumb to pressure from the BJP, but bargain hard to ensure that a prime position was given to the former chief minister and also his supporters were adequately accommodated.

The meeting was convened as an opinion gathering exercise following efforts by a section of BJP leaders to create a platform to bring back Yeddyurappa to the BJP fold and at subsequent merger of the two parties.

Several KJP leaders, including former minister M P Renukacharya and former MLA B P Harish, are apprehensive that they will be sidelined in the BJP if the merger takes place and are reportedly opposing the merger.

Speaking to reporters, Yeddyurappa said BJP national president Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley had informally spoken to him. “I have not decided anything. We will take a decision at an appropriate time,” Yeddyurappa said.

‘Open to alliance’

He said KJP would retain its identity and there was no question of a merger with any party.

“We are open for electoral alliance for the Lok Sabha polls, except with the Congress,” he said.

To a query on whether he was agreeable for alliance with the BJP, he replied in the positive, but said it would depend on “circumstances”. On Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s elevation as BJP campaign committee chairman, Yeddyurappa said Modi was the “tallest leader”.

“Not only me, people across the country want to see Modi as the prime minister,” he said.

Earlier, speaking at the inauguration of the State committee meeting, Yeddyurappa launched a no-holds-barred attack on  the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre and the Congress government in the State for failing to meet the aspirations of the people.   

He said there were enough indications that the Lok Sabha polls would be held by the end of the year, along with Assembly elections in five states.

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