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'Yeddy's blackmail continues, he has not quit BJP'

Last updated on: October 17, 2012 13:43 IST

BSY's exit will have only a small impact for BJP: Sadananda

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Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore

'One should not forget that a party does not run because of a single individual. It runs on the collective effort of many; and not only Yeddyurappa, but a lot of other people have put in their efforts to build the party,' former Karnataka chief minister D Sadananda Gowda tells Vicky Nanjappa

The biggest news in the Karnataka unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party today would be about former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa quitting the party. Much has been written about how his exit would dent the party which had formed its first government in South India four years back.

The followers of the influential Lingayat leader claim that it would be curtains for the BJP once he quits as he is most likely to walk away with 40 MLAs from the party. However, that is not the view shared by one-time Yeddyurappa loyalist and former chief minister of Karnataka, D Sadananda Gowda.

Gowda was made CM by Yeddyurappa, but then the two fell out following which a major coup was staged to remove Gowda almost a year back. In this exclusive interview with Vicky Nanjappa, Gowda speaks out about the future of the BJP in Karnataka, while adding that Yeddyurappa quitting the party will have a very minor impact and there is nothing really to worry about.

Before I could ask you how the party will fare without Yeddyurappa, the question that everyone wants to know is whether he will really quit the party or not?

(Laughs) Honestly, I would not be able to say much about this. Whether Yeddyurappa will quit the party or not can be said only once he quits. He has been speaking about it many times in the past. The blackmailing has continued, but he has not quit the BJP. Hence we must wait and see if he really does it.

What impact would it have if he quits the BJP?

Practically it will have a very small impact on the party. One should not forget that a party does not run because of a single individual. It runs on the collective effort of many; and not only Yeddyurappa, but a lot of other people have put in their efforts to build the party.

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Image: Former Karnataka chief minister Sadananda Gowda


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You say the impact of him leaving will be small. What is your forecast for the next elections in Karnataka?

The next elections would produce a hung assembly. It is not possible for any party to get a majority. However, the BJP will still be the single largest party.

Is there a solution to the Yedyurappa crisis?

There can be a solution. There should be an open mind and only when both sides agree to speak can the issue be resolved. However, I feel that if the issues need to be resolved then it ought to be done so within a month. Even if the crisis with Yeddyurappa cannot be sorted out, the party has to decide quickly on its future course of action and not keep things stacked for the last minute. A proper plan has to be chalked out within a month as we are nearing the elections.

Not to sound repetitive, but how much impact will Yeddyurappa's exit have? He is not an ordinary leader at the end of the day.

He will affect the BJP's vote share in a couple of areas only. There will be a small damage and he will take away a few BJP votes. But it would only be temporary and the BJP can win back what it has lost, provided we get our act together and react to the crisis. Moreover, one should also realise that the public are not fools. They have watched this drama for quite a long time now and they will choose their leader rightly.

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Image: Yeddyurappa's exit will only have a small impact for BJP in Karnataka, says Gowda


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'There cannot be anyone bigger than the party'

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The Lingayat factor is something that is associated with Yeddyurappa and they are the ones who brought your party to victory in the first place. Will the Lingayat vote shift with Yeddyurappa's exit?

I do not see that happening this time. The Lingayat community knows his style of functioning and I do not think they will support him. Moreover, he is not the last of the Lingayat leaders. Jagadish Shettar, the chief minister, is a Lingayat leader too, and he will get ample support as he is doing a good job.

What is the thinking within the Lingayat community about the Yeddyurappa drama?

I cannot say much on this. But when I met a couple of Lingayats, they had asked me, "Why does he behave like this?"

Are you not worried about the flock he will take along with him?

Not at all. He says he will take 30 to 40 MLAs. But that is a far-fetched figure. They may be all supportive now. But they too realise that they have won because of the party and there cannot be anyone bigger than the party.

Once he leaves, all his followers will stay back in the BJP and we are sure of that. Yeddyurappa does have high expectations that half of the state BJP will follow him. But those expectations will fall flat.

Yeddyurappa says he feels betrayed by you after he had made you the chief minister. What are your thoughts?

That is not correct. There were many more issues and all I tried to do was provide good governance and an honest administration.

The BJP's last ditch attempt to get Vokkaliga votes was you. Has that failed with you being replaced?

My idea was not to address one particular community. In general I gave a corruption-free government and people will remember me for that. It is not as though the Vokkaligas are upset because they changed me. Overall the people of Karnataka are upset after I was changed.

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Image: Chief Minister Jagdish Shettar, another Lingayat leader, will also get ample support because of his good job, says Gowda


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Are you in the race for the post of chief minister after the next elections?

I cannot comment on that.

The BJP today is like a house divided in Karnataka with so much internal bickering. Is there a solution or do you see the party going the Uttar Pradesh way?

There are issues. Everything will be sorted out in time and it will not go the UP way. We will always remain a power house in Karnataka.

Do you support the candidature of Narendra Modi as the next prime minister, considering there appears to be some opposition to it in your party leadership?

I cannot say much about the BJP's next prime ministerial candidate. It is for the leadership in Delhi to decide that. But yes, he is a frontrunner for the post of PM; and why not, he has such a good image!


Image: Narendra Modi's good image makes him a frontrunner for PM's post, says Gowda


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