Ashoka, Ravi, Limbavali in race for state BJP top post

B S Yeddyurappa

The BJP will soon be initiating its internal organisational elections, which will set the ball rolling for finding a new state unit president, the post currently held by B S Yeddyurappa.

Though the organisational polls are a lengthy process involving elections of taluk and district presidents, those eyeing the state chief post have already begun lobbying. Former deputy chief minister R Ashoka and state unit general secretaries C T Ravi and Arvind Limbavali are among the prominent leaders in the race.

The 76-year-old Yeddyurappa’s three-year term as state party president ended in March this year. He was, however, asked to continue in the post due to Lok Sabha polls. The former chief minister has served in the post for four terms. Yeddyurappa, however, will continue as the legislature party leader after he is divested of the state party chief post, party sources said.

Once the party fixes the dates for organisational polls, it will appoint an election officer, who will conduct membership drive. Active party members will elect taluk and district presidents. They, in turn, will elect the state president. Normally, the central leadership picks the candidate for the new state president after consulting the state leaders and Sangh Parivar.

Ashoka, who is BJP MLA from Padmanabhanagar Assembly constituency, possesses exceptional organisational skills. Known for his close proximity to late Ananth Kumar, Ashoka is considered as the Vokkaliga face of the BJP. Appointing him as the state chief is expected to help the saffron party woo the Vokkaliga community.

C T Ravi, BJP legislator from Chikkamagaluru, is a firebrand leader and has the backing of RSS in the race for the post. Ravi, who was spearheading the Dattapeetha campaign at Bababudangiri in Chikkamagaluru, has been growing in influence within the party of late. The central leadership had made him the co-in charge of Tamil Nadu along with Union Minister Piyush Goyal in the Lok Sabha polls.

Limbavali, who is a close confidant of Yeddyurappa, represents Mahadevapura Assembly constituency in Bengaluru. A key dalit face of the party, Limbavali has risen through the ranks in the party. He started his political career as an ABVP leader. The party had made him incharge of the Lok Sabha elections in Telangana.

The sources said Yeddyurappa wants to instal one of his trusted aides in the post so that he can control the party affairs. Moreover, he wants to remain the face of the dominant Lingayat community, which has stood by the BJP over the years. Hence, he is eager to see either a dalit or a Vokkaliga helm the party.

Bijapur city MLA and senior leader Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, too, has thrown the hat in the ring. He has said the party should make a north Karnataka leader as the state president.

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