BJP state president and former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa on Wednesday hinted that his party may eventually end up extending support to Independent candidate Sumalatha Ambareesh, who entered the fray from the Mandya Lok Sabha constituency.
During an interaction with DH and Prajavani, Yeddyurappa said Sumalatha’s growing popularity cannot be ignored.
“The BJP will contest all 28 seats. However, public sentiment is that support should be extended to Sumalatha,” he said.
Yeddyurappa, however, seemed to contradict his own party man K S Eshwarappa, who earlier told reporters that the BJP would not support Sumalatha.
“We will not backstab our candidate by supporting any other candidate,” Eshwarappa had said.
When this was pointed out, Yeddyurappa said the party was at liberty to withdraw candidates in the last minute. “Yesterday, we discussed at length about Sumalatha’s growing popularity. We will decide whether to support her or field our own candidate,” he said.
When asked if this would not be a setback, especially for a national party, he said, “These are special circumstances. When the ‘appa makkalu.’’ (H D Deve Gowda and his sons) are desperately trying to grab seats by fielding all of their family members and public opinion is that they should be taught a lesson, then we will take that into serious consideration,” said Yeddyurappa.
He denied charges that he had failed to take the central leadership and his state colleagues into confidence while announcing certain decisions.
“This is not true. I have always taken the opinion of my leaders. I said that all sitting MPs will be given tickets only after consultation with the high command. With regard to Sumalatha, Kumaraswamy tried to gain political mileage by taking Ambareesh’s body in a procession. He, however, later belittled Ambareesh. People will not tolerate such political vengeance,” he said.
Countering JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda’s remarks that the coalition partners would reduce BJP’s numbers to a single digit, Yeddyurappa said, “I want to tell him that people will give a clear mandate to the BJP. They will not let the coalition partners cross the two-digit mark.”
He said people were “disgusted” and “angry” by the manner in which the Gowda family was indulging in dynasty politics. “There should be a limit,” he said.
Yeddyurappa also said there was no scope for regional parties in a state like Karnataka and said his decision to walk out of the BJP and form the Karnataka Janata Paksha as one of his “biggest mistakes”. “It was one of my biggest mistakes. I have apologised to the people.”
Yeddyurappa also said his party was not in a position to field a minority leader in the upcoming elections. “Earlier, we had fielded H T Sangliana (retd IPS officer). Given the current scenario in Karnataka, the chances of either a Muslim or a Christian contesting elections on a BJP ticket and winning, are slim.”
Rubbishing reports that the BJP might forge an alliance with the JD(S) again, Yeddyurappa said this was an “impossible” scenario. “We will never align with the JD(S) again. They are betrayers.” He also said Kumaraswamy’s speciality was conning people.
Yeddyurappa said the BJP would field three women candidates in the upcoming elections.