Former chief minister and strongman of one of the largest caste communities in Karnataka,B S Yeddyurappa,stayed on course to quit the BJP,even as the partys national leadership sent out feelers for talks to keep him in the party fold.
Yeddyurappa,who was forced to resign as the CM in July 2011 following corruption charges for which he has now been chargesheeted by the CBI,announced on Tuesday that he would be working to build his own Karnataka Janata Party from Vijayadashami day on Wednesday. He,however,said he would continue to remain a primary member of the BJP till December 10 when he would formally announce the launch of the KJP.
Yeddyurappa said he alone would initially quit the BJP to form the KJP and would be joined by his supporters,several of whom are currently ministers in the BJP government in Karnataka,closer to the elections. He cited technical reasons for his supporters staying in BJP.
The move by the former CM came even as there were reports from the BJP circles that embattled party president Nitin Gadkari had asked party cadre to refrain from attacking Yeddyurappa ahead of talks to keep him in the BJP fold.
Yeddyurappa on Tuesday suggested that the BJP national leaderships efforts were merely lip service.
The Lingayat leader has been publicly expressing displeasure with the BJP for nearly a year after his leadership position in the party began eroding in the light of the corruption charges against him.
The proposal for KJP has been on the table for months now and has been used as a bargaining chip to keep the former CM and his supporters relevant in the BJP.
Sources in the Yeddyurappa camp said he is intent on disrupting the BJPs Lingayat support base in the Karnataka Assembly polls scheduled for 2013 even if the KJP manages to do well in only a few seats.
Yeddyurappa is set to use a grand function for the Lingayat community on October 28 to unveil the statue of the communitys spiritual leader Basavanna as a testing ground for the support he has within the community. This is expected to be followed by political rallies,including the one on December 10,to announce the launch of the KJP. I will not talk about anything related to the BJP anymore, Yeddyurappa said.