BJP’s state president KS Eshwarappa’s absence at two party conventions, including the one addressed by its national leader Arun Jaitley, provided further grist for reports that all is not well with the party.
On Sunday, BJP held two conventions. Its lawyers’ wing assembled at Palace grounds and commerce and industries wing met at a hotel in Majestic. Eshwarappa was scheduled to attend the meetings to deliver the presidential address.
However, he stayed away at Shimoga, his home town.
It is said that Eshwarappa is not happy with national general secretary and MP Ananth Kumar gaining more control over party’s affairs in the state especially after chief minister Jagadish Shettar was declared as the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate for the forthcoming assembly elections.
It is also said that there are differences of opinion between Shettar and Eshwarappa over the transfer of an IAS officer to the post of deputy commissioner of Shimoga district.
Prahalad Joshi, BJP general secretary, played down Eshwarappa’s absence at the conventions, saying that nothing but ill health prevented him from attending them.
Eshwarapppa said in Shimoga that all was well with the party.
“There are no differences and all are united in the party. Congress leaders are spreading rumours. Chief minister Jagadish Shettar will present the budget as scheduled and the party will come to power again after the elections, “ he said.
He declined to comment on energy minister Shobha Karandlaje’s letter to the chief minister on the security of women.
According to sources, Jaitley later spoke to Eshwarappa over the phone and pacified him.
Meantime, Karnataka Milk Federation president Somashekara Reddy said BJP leaders wanted former ministers B Sreeramulu and Janardhan Reddy back in BJP.
Somashekara, who has identified himself with BSR Congress party floated by Sreeramulu, said that SK Bellubbi, the minister for agriculture marketing, met Janardhan Reddy at Chanchalagudda Jail following a direction from BJP’s national leader Rajanath Singh.
“Now they realise that they want us back in BJP. Bellubbi, over the phone, told me that he wants to talk to Janardhan Reddy. He has already met him in jail. We are not going back to BJP. We will continue to support BSR Congress founded by Sreeramulu,” he said.
G Madhusudhan, chief spokesman of BJP, was not available for comment.