Former chief minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader B S Yediyurappa’s announcement on Friday that his son B Y Vijayendra will contest from his seat — Shikaripura in Karnataka’s Shivamogga district – in the upcoming assembly elections created political ripples.
Speaking exclusively to News18, Vijayendra said he will take his father’s blessings and also follow the party’s instructions.
Asked what he would do if the BJP decides to field him from another seat, the BJP state vice-president replied: “My father and the party are like my two eyes. I can’t do anything with just one,” he said.
When asked if the announcement would be perceived as defiance at a time when reports say that Yediyurappa was being sidelined by the party, Vijayendra firmly denied it.
WHY THE ANNOUNCEMENT
“You should see why my father was forced to make this statement. For the past few days, many media houses have been speculating that I would be contesting from Varuna or Chamarajanagara. There was no truth to it. Our local leaders pressured my father to clarify,” Vijayendra said, explaining what led to this announcement.
He said several months ago, when Yediyurappa told the party leaders that he is ready to support any BJP candidate from Shikaripura, they got upset.
“They said that if he (Yediyurappa) does not contest from Shikaripura, then it should be Vijayendra, no one else. So when these mean speculations began, my father was forced by the leaders to make the announcement that I would contest from the seat,” he said.
Speaking his heart out for the first time on the issue, Vijayendra said he felt hurt during the time only because a lot of leaders had quit the Congress and JDS to join the party. “I felt I may be sidelined. I was sad, upset and scared. But since then, I have worked hard for the party and Shikaripura constituency,” he said.
ON DYNASTIC POLITICS
On the question of how he would handle questions on dynastic politics, Vijayendra said that he has worked his way up in the party not as Yediyurappa’s son, but as a karyakarta.
“I have been in the party for the past 10 years and not once have I been given a responsibility or opportunity as Yediyurappa’s son. I have worked in whatever capacity or responsibility that has come my way. This time, the party leaders insisted that I should contest from Shikaripura, so my father made this public statement,” Vijayendra said.
Defending his father, Vijayendra said not once had Yediyurappa asked the central leaders to give his children a seat. He said that the former CM believed that his children should work their way up.
“My father would be the last person to ask for a seat for his children. He has never uttered my name in front of any of the Delhi leaders or discussed my political future. Rather, he would be a proud father watching us give our sweat and blood while rising in the party,” he said.
DENIED TICKET TWICE
Vijayendra had been denied a party ticket twice — once during the 2018 elections when he was to contest from Varuna and more recently during the MLC polls.
The battle for the assembly seat of Varuna was projected as a fight between the sons of former and current chief ministers in 2018. Vijayendra was to contest from the seat against former Congress CM Siddaramaiah’s son Dr Yathindra. At the last minute, the BJP central leadership denied him the ticket despite the leader campaigning in the constituency for over a fortnight.
“I was not hurt when the ticket for the Varuna seat was not given to me. I had started work in the constituency just 10 days earlier and at the time my father was the state party president. As the son of the party president, when the party high command took a decision, I followed it like a humble party worker,” he said.
Do you see yourself as the CM of the state in the future?
Vijayendra said that he would like to fight his maiden election well and not think about becoming an MLA, MLC or CM. “It is ultimately what the party leaders decides, it will be their collective decision,’ he said.
Speaking on the chances of the BJP in the upcoming elections, the leader felt the party is presently in an advantageous position being in power in the state and centre.
“We are confident that under the leadership of Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai ji and Modi ji, we will come back with an absolute majority.”