Probably under pressure from his party colleagues, KJP president B S Yeddyurappa on Thursday said his party would retain its identity and contest 10 to 12 seats in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections and, at the same time extend support to the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in making Narendra Modi the next prime minister.
Speaking at the KJP state executive meeting here, Yeddyurappa said he never intended to merge his party with the BJP and was ready for any sacrifice to retain the identity of KJP.
It is learnt that Yeddyurappa came under attack from his own party colleagues at the core-committee meeting on Wednesday night for sending his close aide and MLC Lehar Singh Siroya to New Delhi to hold talks with top BJP central leaders to build a consensus on merging the KJP with the BJP.
It is learnt that Shobha Karandlaje, V Dhananjay Kumar, M P Renukacharya and a few others took exception that Yeddyurappa had sent his emissary to the national capital without taking them into confidence.
They are reported to have told Yeddyurappa to look beyond his own interest before taking any decision. This section is apparently worried about their political future if the KJP merges with the BJP. They feel that they may not be accommodated by the BJP.
Conventions from Sept 23
Apparently shaken by the development, Yeddyurappa on Thursday denied he had sent Siroya to Delhi. “It is said I am keen on entering into an electoral alliance for the sake of my son (B S Raghavenda - Shimoga MP). It is a false propagation. I want to build the party,” he said. Yeddyurappa said the KJP would field its candidates from constituencies where it had fared well during the recent Assembly polls. These constituencies include Davangere, Shimoga, Chamarajnagar, Tumkur, Bidar, Bijapur, Chikkodi, Belgaum and Haveri.
He said the KJP would hold conventions across the State from September 23 to expose to the failure of the Congress government in the State. During the first phase, conventions would be held at Davangere, Belgaum, Gulbarga and Chamarajnagar. The meeting passed two resolutions - that KJP would retain its identity and support the NDA and also launch an agitation against the Congress government in the State.
‘Couldn’t drop Reddys’
Former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa on Thursday said the BJP government headed by him would have collapsed had he heeded to Governor H R Bhardwaj’s advice and dropped the Reddy brothers from the Cabinet.
Yeddyurappa rebutted Bhardwaj’s statement, made at a meet the press programme earlier this week, that he (Yeddyurappa) should have followed his advice. “It is easy to sit in Raj Bhavan and give advice. I know the difficulty of running a government. If I had dropped the Reddy brothers, the first ever BJP government in South India would have collapsed immediately. Even the party central leadership was against it,” Yeddyurappa said.
Change in party symbol
Yeddyurappa said he had sought a change in the party’s symbol from coconut to “farmer with a plough,” the time-tested symbol of the erstwhile Janata party. He said with Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy merging his party with the BJP, the symbol had become available.
No opposition to merger: BJP
While Yeddyurappa was taking pains to insist that he would not merge the KJP with the BJP, top leaders of the saffron party said there was no opposition in the BJP to the re-entry of Yeddyurappa. Former chief ministers D V Sadananda Gowda and Jagadish Shettar, former deputy chief minister R Ashoka, who held a joint press conference on Thursday, said they had made it clear to the party central leadership that they had no objection if Yeddyurappa is brought back to the BJP fold. “It is for the BJP central leadership to take a final call,” Ashoka said.
The BJP core-committee on Thursday discussed preparations for the Lok Sabha polls, appointment of new office-bearers and holding political conventions in various districts among other issues. Dasarahalli MLA Muniraju took charge as the new president of BJP’s Bangalore district unit.