B S Yeddyurappa is in the Lingayat heartland with stories of betrayal by the BJP. And on Tuesday,his close aide Shobha Karandlaje too had a few to share.
Accompanied by her elderly mother,sister and a dozen-odd party workers,she stopped from house to house with hands folded at Rajaji Nagar in Bangalore. Her principal rival is her former ministerial colleague Suresh Kumar,sitting BJP MLA,a fact that appeared to have added some urgency to her campaign as she took the stairs to the first and second floors of almost every alternate house. She does it for ten hours every day,five each in the morning and evening.
She was soon recounting the story of trust and betrayal,and how BJP leaders had tried to kill Yeddyurappa politically. He had spent 40 years in the BJP and yet they (central BJP leaders) could not understand his abilities.
They listened only to Ananth Kumar,Sadanand Gowda and Eshwarappa, she said. Before Yeddyurappa resigned (as chief minister),(then BJP president) Nitin Gadkari had promised me that he would be made state BJP president within 24 hours. Nothing happened. Gadkari had promised that once there is something in the high court,We will reinstate him. But after the high court dismissed the case (FIR) against him,they backed out. I told Gadkari,Dont give him a post,give him respect. But they wanted to kill Yeddyurappa politically. When Sushma Swaraj had contested from Bellary,I had spent one month with her; but even she did not help, said Karandlaje.
She ruled out the possibility of Yedyurappa ever returning to the BJP,or a post-poll alliance with any other party. We are at war and the main enemy is the Congress. The BJP was gone even before the war began. We are expecting to emerge the single largest party, she said.
Asked if her party,the KJP,would consider an alliance with the BJP post poll,she said,No,it is not possible. It will never happen… Yeddyurappa is more interested in a third front. We are looking at other parties. Many regional parties too have contacted us. We are looking at parliamentary elections as well.
It is not just Yeddyurappas tales of victimisation that are bothering the BJP leadership. Even as he had emerged the tallest Lingayat leader in the BJP,Yeddyurappa had done some social engineering too. He had inducted several tribal ministers and reached out to Madigas (a Dalit sub-caste) and others. Lingayats constitute around 17 per cent of the population,while support by disparate castes and sub-castes could add to Yeddyurappas numbers.
After his successful show at Bangalore last Sunday,Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modis next stopover is Belgaum in the Mumbai-Karnataka region on May 2,where Yeddyurappa is said to be weaning away BJP workers and voters. Will Modi,with his skills,be able to cast his spell on BJP workers and voters from Bangalore to Belgaum?
It is not possible because he comes here as a flying visitor, said Karandlaje. Who will believe him? Modi will go back. Who will look after BJP workers from tomorrow onwards?