“No one can finish me politically, I have my strength and have toiled to bring the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to power,” a powerful statement by senior BJP leader B S Yediyurappa was nothing less than a veiled warning. It came at a time when the corridors of Bengaluru’s Vidhan Soudha have been rife with rumours of the ‘growing differences’ between Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Yediyurappa.
As the BJP preps its political machinery as the southern state of Karnataka heads towards elections, all may not be well within the ruling party — just like its Opposition, the Congress.
Both the parties are undergoing a leadership crisis, disunity and internal rivalry, making the political fight an internal and external one.
Yediyurappa’s absence at big-ticket events such as the Jan Sankalp Yatra — the BJP’s voter outreach programme, which was launched in October this year jointly by both leaders — has raised several eyebrows.
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The senior leader skipped the yatra in Kunigal and Tumakuru, which further fuelled speculations that he was being sidelined.
THE NADDA EVENT SNUB
Party insiders speak in hushed voices about how Yediyurappa was not invited to the inauguration of the BJP’s Koppal district office, which was attended by BJP national president Jagat Prakash Nadda. Yediyurappa tried to clear the air that he was invited at the last minute and “thought he could not make it”, which only further underlined the tension between the two leaders. When the media began to highlight it, BJP leaders made a beeline to Yediyurappa’s house pleading that he take part in the event. A call from the BJP HQ in Delhi finally sealed the deal and Yediyurappa was convinced to be there.
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Yediyurappa was again snubbed by the party leadership after he was disallowed to take up campaign tours by himself as a build-up to the elections.
When Bommai was asked about the differences with his predecessor, he rubbished it, calling it a “media conspiracy”. Insiders feel that relations have strained and the enthralled leadership needs to step in each time to show a united front.
ರಾಜ್ಯದ 10 ಜಿಲ್ಲೆಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಪಕ್ಷದ ಕಾರ್ಯಾಲಯಗಳ ಉದ್ಘಾಟನೆ, 3 ಜಿಲ್ಲಾ ಕಾರ್ಯಾಲಯಗಳ ಶಂಕುಸ್ಥಾಪನೆಯನ್ನು ನಮ್ಮ ರಾಷ್ಟ್ರೀಯ ಅಧ್ಯಕ್ಷ ಶ್ರೀ @JPNaddaರವರು ಇಂದು ಕೊಪ್ಪಳದಲ್ಲಿ ನೆರವೇರಿಸಿದ್ದು, ಸಿಎಂ ಶ್ರೀ @BSBommai, ರಾಜ್ಯಾಧ್ಯಕ್ಷ ಶ್ರೀ @nalinkateel, ಉಸ್ತುವಾರಿ ಶ್ರೀ @ArunSinghbjp ರವರೊಂದಿಗೆ ಸಮಾರಂಭದಲ್ಲಿ ಪಾಲ್ಗೊಳ್ಳಲಾಯಿತು pic.twitter.com/t7ZKt8BcVb— B.S.Yediyurappa (@BSYBJP) December 15, 2022
THE GUJARAT SWEARING-IN
Another point of dissent was seen when both leaders, who were seen attending the swearing-in ceremony of the new government in Gujarat, travelled separately.
Yediyurappa arrived in the city a few days earlier than Bommai and held meetings with some top party leaders, although it was initially planned that they would travel together.
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Even on their return Yediyurappa was seen flying back in a commercial flight, while Bommai took a special aircraft. A Karnataka BJP leader remarked that even though there were two seats available on the special flight, Yediyurappa’s return on his own sent a wrong message. Both flights landed within a difference of just 30 minutes.
Took part in @BJP4Gujarat legislature party meeting in Gandhinagar as party's Central Observer along with @rajnathsingh Ji & @MundaArjun Ji. Congratulations to @Bhupendrapbjp Ji on being elected as the legislature party leader. Wish him the very best for his 2nd stint as CM. pic.twitter.com/NKq5CgJjD9— B.S.Yediyurappa (@BSYBJP) December 10, 2022
Party insiders say that there have been several instances when the former CM was not invited to major programmes organized by the ruling BJP in Karnataka as well.
BJP national general secretary CT Ravi tried to save the party from embarrassment saying that Yediyurappa had a national responsibility and cannot be everywhere.
He, however, parted with the statement that the senior BJP leader, apart from his national responsibility, will also help the BJP win 150+ seats for the party.
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