The three coastal districts of Karntaka have been the strongest bastion of the ruling BJP, but BS Yeddyurappa’s rebellion has begun to have its effect in the region, with internal bickering among leaders becoming public.
In the latest incident, a meeting of party leaders and workers at Karwar on Thursday witnessed an altercation between BJP state president KS Eshwarappa and legislator Anand Asnotikar, who is rumoured to be veering towards the Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) floated by Yeddyurappa.
Eshwarappa, who has recently taken action against partymen who joined the BJP through the ‘Operation lotus’ in 2008, warned Asnotikar who switched loyalties in that operation from Congress to the BJP, to make clear where his loyalties lay, or face expulsion.
“Many loyal party workers have told me that you are going to KJP sooner or later. You must decide soon, so I can scout for probable candidates to represent BJP in Karwar constituency,” Eshwarappa is reported to have told Asnotikar at the meeting.
At another meeting Eshwarappa attended, Ananthkumar Heggade, MP from Uttara Kannada, asked Asnotikar to keep out of the meeting till the the meeting with Eshwarappa was over. Asnotikar, along with his followers, left the meeting in a huff.
“We cannot keep people with oscillating loyalties in the party. We need to keep our slate clean if we are to face the defeat our rivals in the next elections” a stern Eshwarappa told the meeting.
Down south, the BJP stronghold of Udupi is now seeing a battle between Haladi Srinivas Shetty and district in-charge minister Kota Srinivas Poojary. Shetty resigned from the party membership earlier this week and sent a strong message to the party.
“Poojary cannot win an Assembly seat, but he is an MLC for the next four years, and I will not remain in BJP as long as I have to play the second fiddle to him. I better contest elections on my own,” Shetty said, indicating that he would contest as an independent.
“The BJP in Mangalore and Dakshina Kannada has underestimated the influence of BSY and KJP. The underlying power of BSY will bring many BJP leaders and workers into the KJP fold shortly,” KJP leader V Dhananjay Kumar told DNA.