In a low key homecoming, former Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Thursday formally rejoined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday, more than a year after he deserted the party and floated his own outfit.
Yeddyurappa was welcomed by BJP Karnataka unit President Prahlad Joshi and other senior state leaders as he stepped into the party state headquarters along with his supporters. He was given the party primary membership at a function in which no national leader was present.
"Let us forget the past....let us remove the mutual suspicion and work together as the children of a mother", said Yeddyurappa, who had announced the decision of his party Karnataka Janata Paksha to merge with BJP a week ago.
He said "because of our certain wrong decisions" the Congress which had been pushed to the corner had returned to power in Karnataka and added, "we had committed an unpardonable crime (by enabling it)."
Yeddyurappa said the Congress was facing "bankruptcy" of leadership and the country was craving for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to become the prime minister.
He said the party should aim at winning more than 20 (of the 28 Lok Sabha) seats in Karnataka in the general election. The BJP had secured 18 Lok Sabha seats in the last election.
He said the party should go to the Lok Sabha polls telling the people, "pardon our mistakes. We will not repeat them."
"We have come together with an open mind," said Joshi, after welcoming Yeddyurappa in the presence of former Chief Ministers D V Sadananda Gowda and Jagadish Shettar and national General Secretary Ananth Kumar.
Ananth Kumar, who was perceived as a bete noire of Yeddyurappa and considered a stumbling block for his re-entry earlier said, "We will never separate. We will be together. We will fight together."
"We welcome the KJP with an open mind and wholeheartedly," Kumar said. "The countdown for the end of the Congress-led government at the Centre and in Karnataka has started now with this unity".
The BJP is hoping to revive its electoral fortunes with the "unconditional" return of Yeddyurappa, who had snapped his more than four-decades-old association with it in December 2012 nursing bitterness against the central leadership for removing him as chief minister.
Indicted by the Lokayukta on the illegal mining issue, a reluctant Yeddyurappa was asked to vacate his chair in July 2011, after which Sadananda Gowda succeeded him but made way to Shettar, both of whom were made to spend sleepless nights by him before floating the KJP.
Relegated to third position, the BJP had tasted the most humiliating defeat in the May 8 Assembly polls which saw the collapse of its first ever government in the south with the KJP playing the spoiler garnering six seats with 10 per cent vote share.
Yeddyurappa, considered a strongman of Lingayats, the numerically largest community in the state, had however not made much political impact as an independent force, facing an uncertain political future.
Both the parties had been making efforts for unity which fructified last week with the BJP and the KJP announcing the much expected merger after receiving the green signal from the central leadership.