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With Feud Out in Open, Can Yeddyurappa and Santhosh Work Together?

Santhosh is an RSS pracharak on deputation to the BJP. He is in-charge of the southern state and has earlier worked as Karnataka State Organisation General Secretary. It's an open secret in state politics that BSY and Santhosh have never got along well.

Sumit Pande | CNN-News18

Updated:May 2, 2017, 7:01 PM IST
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With Feud Out in Open, Can Yeddyurappa and Santhosh Work Together?
BSY had exhibited his local clout by dragging BJP down to a comprehensive defeat at the hands of Congress. (PTI image)
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Bangaluru: Former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa was hopeful of a cabinet berth in the Modi government in 2014 when an emissary from Delhi met him in Bangaluru.

The party leadership had sent a message expressing regrets on its inability to accommodate BSY in the union council. However, he was assured in no uncertain terms that his claim in Karnataka politics would be kept in mind.

Keeping that promise, and overlooking the 75 year age bar, BSY was last year appointed the state chief and party's face in the next Assembly polls slated for 2018.

Karnataka is the last major bastion of the Congress party, and BJP realised only someone with BSY's stature could take on larger OBC, Muslim, Dalit and Christian combination being built by incumbent CM Siddaramaiah.

Even now, there is no second opinion within the BJP that after having handed over the baton to BSY, there cannot be any going back. The party simply cannot afford to give a message that BSY has been weakened in the latest round of factional feud.

In its assessment of the political situation the party feels Lingayats, who constitute almost a fifth of the electorate in Karnataka, have been BJP's core constituency since party's emergence as a major political player in the state politics. And BSY undisputedly remains the tallest Lingayat leader.

In breaking away from the BJP and launching his own regional outfit just before 2013 elections, BSY had exhibited his local clout by dragging BJP down to a comprehensive defeat at the hands of Congress.

"The TINA (There is no alternative) factor weighs in favour of BSY. At least till 2019,” says a BJP leader close to BSY.

A report on the current state of affairs in Karnataka has been submitted to the party high command. But the much larger issue for the party at the moment is not Eshwarappa and his apolitical front. The moot question is whether BSY can now have a working relationship with national Joint General Secretary BL Santhosh.

Santhosh is an RSS pracharak on deputation to the BJP. He is in-charge of the southern state and has earlier worked as Karnataka State Organisation General Secretary. It's an open secret in state politics that BSY and Santhosh have never got along well.

But this time around BSY has launched a direct attack on Santhosh, accusing him of being the agent provocateur. In an election year, the moot question for the BJP is whether the two leaders can have a working relationship after the dirty linen has been washed in public.

Organisation secretary is a key position in terms of operations in the BJP. Santhosh is an old Karnataka hand, but there have been instances in the past where party has had to take strong decisions in the face of internal rift.
But any decision on Santhosh has to be approved by the RSS which has lent its pracharak to the BJP for a specific purpose.

| Edited by: Nakshab Khan
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