M Raghuram l MANGALORE
While the BJP is on the verge of split in the state due to BS Yeddyurappa’s plans to launch Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) in the state, it appears that nobody from the coastal areas, including those who have been the staunchest followers of Yeddyurappa, is willing to part with the BJP.
Signals coming from the BJP cadres in the coastal areas, including Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada, have left the KJP feelers with a blank. KJP’s state president and former MP V Dhananjaya Kumar, who had been with the BJP for more than 25 years, has sent his emissaries to the coastal areas, but is said to have left with no hopes of roping in people from the BJP. However, a few Zilla Panchayat members, who were earlier in the Congress and shifted loyalties to BJP, may cross over to KJP.
“That does not matter. We are not bothered about the new party even if it is led by Yeddyurappa. Our internal democracy has been so strong that every party member or worker has been given his/her responsibilities in organising the party. Our booth level workers have indicated that voters are not going to support KJP,” said BJP’s Dakshina Kannada unit president Padmanabha Kottari.
According to BJP workers who DNA met, followers of Yeddyurappa belong to a different ideology. They were discarded by the people after most of them were caught in some scam or the other. Those who were lured by Yeddyurappa and the Reddy brothers during the ‘operation Kamala’did not have any ideology or party discipline. They would not have joined BJP but for huge bags of money and the bait of ministerial berths. “They have no standards to follow or faith to keep,” said Sathish Kamath, BJP leader and an ardent Sangh Parivar activist. “Perhaps Yeddyurappa should try his tactics with the disgruntled leaders of the Congress,” said BJP Udupi unit president Udayakumar Shetty.
Former chief minister DV Sadananda Gowda was more vehement. “Party discipline is not something that comes with power, but it is vice versa—discipline brings political power. I was chosen as the chief minister by not one individual but by the party’s collective leadership. I am happy that the BJP workers and state level leaders in the coastal areas have stuck to the party ideology paved by leaders like Jagannath Joshi, AB Vajpayee and LK Advani. We will rebuild this party with new blood and standards based on the bedrock of values in public life.”
Yeddyurappa might find it hard for luring leaders and workers from Congress too. Congress leaders have already started holding booth level meetings to ensure their allegiance to the party.
“The congress leadership in the coast is one unified unit. This was masterminded by our leaders like Oscar Fernandes, Janardhana Poojary and Veerappa Moily in anticipation of the coming elections to the state assembly in 2013 followed by the parliamentary elections in 2014,” said Dakshina Kannada Congress president B Ramanatha Rai. Former president of the Udupi unit of Congress MA Gafoor said: “Both KJP and BSR Congress will not be able to lure Congress workers from the coastal areas.”
What is left with KJP to poach is JD (S). Considering the enmity between JD (S) state chief HD Kumaraswamy and Yeddyurappa, sparks will be flying between the two parties. But then JD (S) has minimal presence in the coast and perhaps the KJP might have to start looking towards old Mysore area for gratification.