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BJP needs a new battle-plan after Yeddy's adieu

By Vicky Nanjappa
November 30, 2012 16:43 IST
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If top leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party's Karnataka unit are worried about the departure of veteran politico B S Yeddyurappa, they are trying their best to hide it.

All the party's state leaders put on a brave front on Friday after the much-hyped resignation of Yeddyurappa, the man who was responsible for bringing the party to power in Karnataka.

R Ashok and K S Eshwarappa, both deputy chief ministers, were the only ones who reacted publicly.

Ashok stated that it was a "sad day" but the party had nothing to worry about since it was not a "party of individuals".

Eshwarappa claimed that there would be no major impact due to the former CM's resignation, adding that the renegade leader was welcome to return to the party's fold.

The ruling BJP has five months remaining in its term and it wants to tide over this period without any hiccups.  The party's leaders will have to work very hard in the coming months to impress the voters and ensure that it has a decent standing in the next elections.

It will also have to handle Yeddyurappa's supporters carefully. The former CM has already issued a veiled warning to them, stating that if his supporters are troubled, then no one should blame him for the consequences.

Though the BJP top brass had mulled the possibility of dissolving the assembly and opting for early elections, they have now decided to complete this tenure.

BJP will have to gear up for a tough fight in Karnataka when elections come knocking.

Shimoga district is considered to be Yeddyurappa's bastion and the BJP will lose its vote bank there. Yeddyurappa is also likely to make a dent in the party's vote-bank in Kodagu district.

The BJP will have to fight to save its support base in north Karnataka, which is dominated by the Lingayat community. Yeddyurappa, who has always commanded the votes of the Lingayat community, will manage to corner at least 15 to 20 per cent of the total votes.

Bellary will be another bone of contention for the BJP. Former party leader B Sriramuluand his party BSR Congress is likely to thwart the saffron party's chances there.

During the Bellary by-elections, the BJP had performed dismally and its candidate had failed to even recover his deposit.

Political observers believe that given the current tumultuous scenario, it would not be possible for any party to come to power with an absolute majority in Karnataka. Main opposition Janata Dal – Secular is expected to make some political gains but those would not be enough for the party to come to power.

Yeddyurappa has already made it clear that he will not forge a pre-poll alliance with any party. But his outspoken praise for Congress leaders Indira Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi indicate that he may support the party after the elections.

Even the BSR Congress may team up with the Congress, leaving the BJP with no option but to join hands with friend-turned-foe JD-S.

BJP may also face the problem of a mass exodus by Yeddyurappa's loyalists.

The former CM has claimed that he has the support of at least 40 Members of Legislative Assembly. While most of his supporters are against his decision to leave the party, nearly 15 MLAs are still expected to leave BJP and join his party.

Their defection would be another setback for the BJP which would find it tough to select and groom candidates to contest from the constituencies of these legislators during the state elections.

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