CHV prepares ground for ‘ghar-wapsi’ to BJP

Last Updated 29 October 2019, 17:50 IST

Former MP C H Vijayashankar, who held a meeting with his supporters in Hunsur on Tuesday said, “The general opinion was to take his political interest and future into consideration, before taking a decision on whether to be in the Congress or to re-join the BJP.”

He will hold a similar meeting in Periyapatna on Wednesday.

It has to be recalled that Vijayashankar, who was the JD(S)-Congress coalition candidate in the last Lok Sabha polls (May 2019) was the personal choice of former chief minister Siddaramaiah, a strongman of the region. Both Vijayashankar and Siddaramaiah belong to the Kuruba community.

Cong to BJP

Vijayashankar, who was a Congress leader then, joined the BJP in 1991. He contested on a BJP ticket from Hunsur Assembly constituency in 1994 and won. Later, he represented Mysuru Lok Sabha constituency twice — from 1998 to 1999 and 2004 to 2009.

He was MLC from June 2010 to January 2016. Meanwhile, he was Forest Minister from September 2010 to July 2011 in B S Yediyurappa Cabinet.

In 2014, he was forced to contest from Hassan Lok Sabha constituency, which he lost to former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, as Pratap Simha was made candidate for Mysore-Kodagu constituency. In 2018, when he joined the Congress, he was president of state Raitha Morcha of BJP.

Ex-CM’s choice

Vijayashankar was an aspirant for the ticket from Periyapatna Assembly constituency in 2018, but S Manjunath, an industrialist from Bengaluru, was given the BJP ticket. Sensing this, prior to the polls, Vijayashankar crossed over to Congress on January 19, 2018, at the behest of Siddaramaiah. It is learnt that Siddaramaiah had assured Vijayashankar of Congress ticket to contest Lok Sabha polls. Siddaramaiah kept his words despite opposition in his own party and also from the coalition partner, the JD(S).

It has to recalled that Vijayashankar had said that he was leaving the BJP as his self-respect was hurt, while joining the Congress last year. He had stated that he would expose the irregularities in a particular party, hinting at the BJP.

BJP green signal

M Shivanna, former minister and district (rural) BJP president said, “BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel and Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa have given the green signal for the re-induction of Vijayashankar, after a gap of 22 months.”

A few Congress leaders, lead by ex-MP R Dhruvanarayan, met Vijayashankar on Monday to convince him to stay back. However, Vijayashankar clarified that he would act on the opinion of his supporters.

Anti-Siddaramaiah block

The attempts to woo back Vijayashankar into BJP is seen as a ploy to win the Hunsur Assembly bypolls, following the resignation of JD(S) MLA A H Vishwanath.

Now, Vishwanath is also tipped to join the BJP. His chances of contesting the bypoll depends on the case pending before the Supreme Court.

Vijayashankar and Vishwanath also belong to the same Kuruba community. It has to be recalled that the BJP could win Chamarajanagar Lok Sabha and Nanjangud and Gundlupet Assembly segments by getting MP V Srinivas Prasad, a bete noire of Siddaramaiah, into BJP fold. Now, it is learnt that Prasad and Vishwanath, with the backing of Chamundeshwari MLA G T Devegowda, have engineered the defection of Vijayashankar.

New equation

Although Devegowda is neutral and wants to stay in JD(S), his bitterness for Siddaramaiah is evident. The BJP is keen on fielding his son G D Harish Gowda from Hunsur segment, in case Vishwanath cannot contest. Thus, Vijayashankar might help the victory of the BJP in Hunsur, where Kuruba community voters are a major factor. By pitching in Harish Gowda, the BJP is also trying to woo Vokkaliga voters.

Vijayashankar seems to nourish his earlier aspiration to contest from Periyapatna Assembly segment, where the BJP still does not have a candidate.

(Published 29 October 2019, 16:33 IST)

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