'Firebrand' Kateel takes charge as Karnataka BJP chief

'Firebrand' Kateel takes charge as Karnataka BJP chief

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa fetes Nalin Kumar Kateel after he took charge as the state BJP president at the party's state head office in Bengaluru on Tuesday. dh photo

Hindutva firebrand and Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel took charge as the BJP’s Karnataka president on Tuesday, with a vow to strengthen the party.

"BJP is in its golden ages and at such a juncture I am given this responsibility. Though I am cautious and nervous about it, I have confidence of fulfilling my role," Kateel, clad in saffron, said.

Attributing his elevation to the RSS, he said that his appointment proved that even an ordinary party worker could helm the state unit of the BJP.

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, who handed over the charge to Kateel, announced a target of winning 150 seats in the next Assembly polls, which he predicted would happen three years from now.

Yediyurappa said the immediate challenge for the government was to provide relief to the agrarian community affected by flood. The government will provide them the required aid to rebuild their lives, even if it means stopping several schemes, he said.

Noting that he now had a good cabinet, Yediyurappa said the organisation had to be strengthened in Karnataka, so that BJP came back to power with a thumping majority. "We have to win 150 seats in the next Assembly elections," he said.

Though a large contingent of party supporters - especially from the coastal region - were present at the venue, several legislators were conspicuous in their absence and hinted that all was not well within the saffron party. Among the prominent leaders who skipped the event included ministers R Ashoka and B Sreeramulu.