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    Koppal byelection buildup witnesses polarisation

    BANGALORE: The byelection to Koppal Assembly seat, which was caused due to the ruling BJP’s Operation Kamala — a covert operation intended to weaken the Opposition parties — seems to have created a crack within the saffron party itself.State BJP president K S Eshwarappa who convened a meeting of state unit leaders here on Saturday said that “the party has decided to face the byelection on the spirit of collective leadership”.However at a separate meeting on the same issue held at the residence of former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, which was attended by several ministers and Lok Sabha members, it was decided that the election will be fought in the ousted CM’s leadership.Speaking to newsmen after attending the meeting, Lok Sabha member and close confidant of B S Yeddyurappa D B Chandre Gowda said that the leaders - Shobha Karandlaje, Umesh Katti, Raju Gowda, Murugesh Nirani, V Somanna and Revunaik Belamagi among others - who took part in the meeting strongly favoured facing the byelection under the leadership of the former CM.“Members present at the meeting expressed apprehension over Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda’s ability to ensure victory of the party candidate in the crucial byelections,” he said.Yeddyurappa is also expected to call on party national president Nitin Gadkari at Nagpur and communicate to him the views of the party leaders present in the meeting.Meanwhile, in a related move, Eshwarappa also held a meeting at the party’s headquarters to work out strategies to fight the Koppal byelection.Several state party office bearers, including C T Ravi, have reportedly expressed consent for a “collective leadership”.Eshwarappa, while addressing the media here on Saturday, hinted at drafting in Yeddyurappa for the party’s electoral campaign.“There is no fault in including the former CM for our byelection campaign.” He also informed that the BJP candidate for the bypoll, which is yet to be finalised, would file nomination on September 9.Eshwarappa added that several names, including Karadi Sanganna, are being considered for the candidature.Meanwhile, the discreet political move of the Bellary Reddy brothers — Janardhan and Karunakar — and their associate B Sriramulu, who were lobbying hard for a state Cabinet berth had created ripples within the state BJP.Rumours that they would quit the BJP and float their own political outfit were also doing the rounds.Sriramulu is likely to take reveal his next political move at a press meet on Sunday.