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Yediyurappa may have played wrong hand in son case, but Karnataka veteran still holds some aces

The rejection is being seen as a sign of the diminishing authority of Yediyurappa in the BJP, compared to when his nominees could be considered certain for a nod from the party leadership.

Written by Johnson T A | Bengaluru |
Updated: May 26, 2022 3:37:51 pm
Yediyurappa with his sons B Y Vijayendra (to his right) and B Y Raghavendra. (File)

Former Karnataka chief minister and senior BJP leader B S Yediyurappa gambled on the prospect of the BJP nominating his younger son B Y Vijayendra for the Karnataka Legislative Council polls, scheduled for June 3, after assurance from a Union minister from the state that he would canvass for Vijayendra with the party high command.

Sources with proximity to the family said Yediyurappa and Vijayendra were led to believe by the Union minister, considered close to the BJP central leadership, that Vijayendra’s case would be cleared if his candidature was recommended by the state BJP core committee.

However, while Vijayendra’s name was recommended by the committee, at a meeting on May 14 attended by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Union minister Pralhad Joshi, state BJP in-charge Arun Singh and state BJP president Nalin Kumar Kateel, the proposal was rejected by the BJP high command on May 24.

The rejection is being seen as a sign of the diminishing authority of Yediyurappa in the BJP, compared to when his nominees could be considered certain for a nod from the party leadership.

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Sources said the prospects of Vijayendra getting an MLC ticket were “weak”. “It was reiterated by the BJP leadership after the Uttar Pradesh polls that it was opposed to dynastic politics. Yet, reliance was placed on assurances given by a Central minister,” a leader said.

Even as the snub has further hit the stature of Yediyurappa – who was earlier forced out of the CM’s post – the person who is believed to have gained in the process is BJP national general secretary (organisation) B L Santhosh. The latter is seen as a rival to Yediyurappa in BJP affairs in Karnataka, and even as Vijayendra was denied a ticket, three of his candidates are among the four whose names were cleared.

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In his first public reaction to the snub to Vijayendra, Yediyurappa Wednesday said he believed that the BJP would “reward” his son in due course of time. “I am confident Vijayendra will get a big opportunity in the future. The party will not forsake those who are capable and loyal… He is now the party vice-president. The party will create opportunities… Soon there will be some larger responsibilities,” the former CM said, adding that the decision was up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief J P Nadda.

He also added: “The BJP will get a clear majority in the next elections under the leadership of PM Modi.”

Noting that the recommendation of Vijayendra’s name by the state core committee was “unanimous”, Kateel said: “Since he has various opportunities, the high command might have taken a decision after considering various factors.”

Given the numerous investigations against him and his family, sources said Yediyurappa wants to ensure a political future for his younger son. On Wednesday too, Yediyurappa was due to appear in court for a corruption case dating back to 2006-07 when he was deputy CM but he was exempted from appearance after the court was informed that he was unwell.

After the rejection of Vijayendra’s candidature, some BJP units in Karnataka put out messages on social media questioning Yediyurappa’s contribution to the influential Lingayat community, which is considered to be his main pillar of political support. “Yediyurappa has used the name of the Lingayat community for his politics but did not do anything in return for the community,” said a social media post attributed to the Vijayapura district unit of the BJP.

But, BJP leaders admit they remain wary of how Yediyurappa, one of Karnataka’s tallest politicians, could react if he feels cornered. In 2012, when he quit the BJP to float his own Karnataka Janata Party, after the party sidelined him amid corruption allegations, the BJP had gone on to lose the 2013 Assembly elections. This had led Modi and Amit Shah to woo him back.

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