The return of the former Karnataka CM depends on how the BJP will fare in the May 5 assembly elections, reports Vicky Nanjappa
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday announced a new 76-member team and while Karnataka will be its first litmus test, its main focus will be to steer the party in the 2014 general elections.
Karnataka BJP leaders tell rediff.com that with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the thick of the action they expect results, but added that the real victory will be seen during next year’s polls.
Modi has been named to the BJP's 12-member parliamentary board, the only party chief minister to enter the group of decision makers.
Many within the party are hoping that Modi will play an active role in Karnataka and this would mean that the mantle would be taken over from Ananth Kumar, who by and large is the big boss of the state party unit today.
Party sources say that despite the challenge from the Congress, it is too early for the new team to change the BJP’s fortunes in the May 5 assembly elections.
Modi and his team will have to adopt a wait-and-watch policy till the results of the Karanataka elections are declared. Many still believe that Modi will try and rope in B S Yeddyurappa back into the BJP if it fares badly in the assembly elections.
For both the Congress as well as the BJP, Karnataka is a key state. The state has 29 Lok Sabha seats and during the last elections under the leadership of Yeddyurappa the party had bagged an impressive 19. The BJP is aware that it cannot win many seats in the other southern states and hence Karnataka assumes importance.
The situation in the Congress is no different. While the party is confident of a good performance in the assembly elections, it too has its eyes on the 2014 polls. Andhra Pradesh was once dominated by the Congress, but this time round they are on shaky ground because of the burning Telangana statehood issue, Hence, its hopes are also pinned on Karnataka.
Modi vs Rahul
Both Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi will campaign in Karnataka for the upcoming assembly elections. And since both are potential prime ministerial candidates, the battle between them will be keenly watched. However, both leaders face a common problem -- infighting in their parties.
The Congress will have to sort out differences between leader of opposition in the legislative assembly Siddaramaiah and the rest of the party. The BJP, on the other hand, needs to bridge the gap between the two factions in the party. While Yeddyurappa, the only mass leader in the BJP, has parted ways, his loyalists hope that Ananth Kumar is kept away from party affairs. Also, followers of the former Karnataka CM hope that he is brought back into the party fold.
However, the return of Yeddyurappa to the BJP will largely depend on how the existing Karnataka leadership fares in the assembly elections. Ananth Kumar and former CM D Sadananda Gowda, who are part of the parliamentary board, will have to prove their credentials that they can carry forward the party without Yeddyurappa.