Ravi, Limbavali contenders for state BJP chief's post

Ravi, Limbavali contenders for state BJP chief's post

C T Ravi-Photo by S K Dinesh

The ascension of B S Yediyurappa as the chief minister has left the post of state BJP president for grabs with several leaders in the party vying for the coveted post.

Two BJP general secretaries C T Ravi and Arvind Limbavali, both having Sangh Parivar credentials, are the top contenders for the post. The party's central leadership is expected to make an announcement in a month or two.  

Though Limbavali - who has been general secretary of the party eight times - was almost certain to succeed Yediyurappa, recent developments, involving the controversial alleged 'fake video', appears to have hurt the Mahadevapura MLA's prospects. As a result, Ravi has emerged as a strong candidate at the expense of Limbavali's popularity.

The names that feature in the Cabinet of Yediyurappa will provide clues of who the next president of the State unit will be. Senior BJP leaders, eyeing the party's state president's post, have made their intentions clear when they were consulted for Cabinet expansion, sources told DH.

"Though BJP's high command has made their hold on State affairs clear, Limbavali is Yediyurappa's choice to be the state president. Ravi will helm the party affairs in Karnataka if national general secretary (organisation) B L Santosh has a say in the matter," a senior BJP MLA said under the condition of anonymity.

Ravi, a staunch RSS man like Limbavali, is in the good books of Sangh's leadership in the State. Though his name had sprung up for the post in the past, he was not selected as leaders senior to him were preferred. "Ravi has a good chance as he belongs to Vokkaliga community. Having a Lingayat chief minister and Vokkaliga party president will be an advantage considering the caste dynamics of the state. But his strained relationship with Yediyurappa could spoil his chances," sources said.

Despite Limbavali's recent setback, his contributions to BJP in the past could tip the scales in his favour. "Apart from playing a crucial role during the recent Operation Kamala that succeeded in removing the coalition government, he was key in convincing Yediyurappa to rejoin BJP after he had floated KJP in 2012. He is popular with the Central leadership and has experience working under several state presidents".

However, the BJP high command's penchant to spring surprises when it comes to such appointments could well result in neither being selected, the sources said.