Yeddyurappa's lunch meet is a show of strength: BJP
A meeting of former Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and his supporters is being closely watched by many in the state, says Vicky Nanjappa
Yeddyurappa is making a lot of noise about quitting the Bharatiya Janata Party. His staunch loyalist and former Union minister Dhananjay Kumar who has been named as the interim president of the Karnataka Janatha Party says, "We are all aware now how neck deep in corruption he (BJP president Nitin Gadkari) is today, so I decided to quit the party. There will be a special session of Yeddyurappa's new party on December 9 at Bengaluru, following which the party will be launched the next day."
The meeting, which will be held at his residence, is being seen by many as a show of strength ahead of the visit by BJP general secretary Dharmendra Pradhan to Bengaluru on Tuesday night.
However, Yeddyurappa dismisses it quickly, "It is just a lunch-cum-meeting that I am having with my friends and no one needs to read too much into it."
But the BJP feels that this is nothing but a muscle flexing tactic by Yeddyurappa and will do this until the last minute so that he has better bargaining powers.
Yeddyurappa expects at least 60 people at his meeting, but then 40 are likely to turn up since many have decided to wait and watch how the events shape up until December 10.
Yeddyurappa however says that there is no need for anyone to view this as a meeting to show his strength. "Everyone is aware of my strength and there is no need for me to put up such a show," he says.
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Image: Former Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa
'Modi will stay away from Yeddyurappa'
Yeddyurappa says that he has not urged anyone to join him as of now and there is no need to shake up the government.
"Complete your term and after that come and join me if you feel like," he has told his supporters, says a source.
Meanwhile, Pradhan will be in the city to chalk out the strategy for the party, ahead of Yeddyurappa's exit. He would also make one last attempt to talk to the former chief minister in order to placate him. However, the mood in both the camps is not enthusiastic and many have begun making peace with the fact that Yeddyurappa would quit the party.
The Modi intervention:
A few days ago, there were reports that Yeddyurappa had talks with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who in turn had assured him that his problems would be solved. However Yeddyurappa has denied this and said that he has been approached by none and there has been no attempt by anyone to pacify him.
BJP sources say that the question of Modi speaking with Yeddyurappa does not arise.
"Modi will stay away from anyone who is tainted in the BJP. He would not want to sully his image of a 'clean' politician. He will stay away from Yeddyurappa and Gadkari as well," informs a BJP source.
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Image: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi
The fence sitters
Although Yeddyurappa claims that he has the support of 60 members of the Karnataka assembly, in reality, that is not the case. Many who are supporting him today may back out at the last minute and that includes his closest aide, Shobha Karandlage.
She is in a dilemma, as she feels that if she joins Yeddyurappa, she would have to give up her constituency, Yeshwanthpur. Yeddyurappa does not yield that much of a clout in Bengaluru, and Shobha is aware that she had won because of the BJP and not Yeddyurappa.
She would not make her decision clear until the last minute and she is said to be playing her cards carefully and wait until the last minute before she could decide on her future in the BJP.
Yeddyurappa could expect party hoppers from the rural Karnataka where candidates have won on his name. They would include parts of north Karnataka and Shimoga where he is strong.
Political observers say that he may manage to rope in some 15 MLAs from the BJP. He is also relying heavily on some candidates from the Congress who have been neglected and they would include the likes of former speaker Ramesh Kumar.
Yeddyurappa has already started moving away from the BJP ideology and his recent meeting with Muslims is an indication of the same. During that meeting, Yeddyurappa had said, "The Karnataka Janata Party is your party, as we are secular in nature."
Image: Shobha Karandlage
Photographs: Courtesy: Shobha Karandlage's website