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Modi's BJP lures KJP chief Yeddyurappa with an eye on 2014 polls

Modi's BJP lures KJP chief Yeddyurappa with an eye on 2014 polls

The BJP has promised Yeddyurappa the post of leader of opposition in the Assembly and a plum portfolio at the Centre, if it comes to power.

New Delhi: It is almost certain that former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa will return to the BJP after the party named Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Modi shares an excellent personal rapport with Yeddyurappa.

Yeddyurappa is credited with singlehandedly building and bringing the BJP to power in Karnataka, the first southern state where the party had its government, in 2008. Yeddyurappa was forced to step down as the chief minister after he was indicted by the Karnataka Lokayukta in mining scams and illegal assets cases. He soon quit the BJP and formed the Karnataka Janatha Paksha but failed to make a major impact in the 2013 Assembly elections in the state.

After his talks with the ruling Congress over a formal tie up in the coming Lok Sabha elections failed, the KJP chief has decided to merge his party with the BJP.

The RSS has been putting enormous pressure on Yeddyurappa to return to BJP to strengthen Narendra Modi's candidature for the post of the Prime Minister.

But a section in the KJP is opposed to a merger. They are even threatening to quit KJP, if Yeddyurappa goes ahead with the merger.

On the other hand the BJP has promised Yeddyurappa the post of leader of opposition in the Assembly and a plum portfolio at the Centre, if it comes to power.

The 70-year-old Lingayat strongman has informed his close associates that it is not possible for him to keep the KJP intact. KJP leaders are meeting on Thursday where Yaeddyurappa will announce his party's support to the NDA and Narendra Modi.

The merger will take place only after the BJP agrees to his conditions. The BJP is keen to get Yeddyurappa back as he enjoys a big clout in the Lingayat dominated north Karnataka districts.

The KJP polled 10 per cent votes in the 2013 assembly polls and has 6 MLAs in the Assembly. Three BJP MPs (suspended) are also with the KJP.

Three KJP MLAs and an MP are opposing a merger with the BJP. They are likely to join the Congress.

The BJP wants to go to Lok Sabha polls under his leadership in the state. Yeddyurappa's return to the BJP is expected to strengthen the saffron party and weaken the ruling Congress in the state.

In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won 19 seats from Karnataka, which accounts for 28 Lok Sabha MPs, under Yeddyurappa. The Congress won six and the JDS three.