Any hopes of retaining BS Yeddyurappa in the BJP vanished on Tuesday with the former chief minister winning the battle of nerves against the party high command as more than 40 MLAs, 13 MLCs and 9 MPs of the BJP attended his luncheon meeting that was seen as a show of strength ahead of floating his own political outfit.
With the BJP national general secretary and in-charge of party affairs in Karnataka, Dharmendra Pradhan—who was to arrive in the city for, perhaps, the final attempt to convince Yeddyurappa to drop his plans of deserting the party—postponing his visit by a week, any faint hopes of a rapproachment with Yeddyurappa were dashed.
Reiterating his decision, Yeddyurappa scotched any doubts about his future plans. “I have decided to launch KJP on December 10 and there is no question of going back on my decision,” he said.
The former chief minister tried to remove apprehensions in the minds of fence-sitters in the party by explaining the political advantages for BJP legislators if they join KJP. According to sources, Yeddyurappa emphasised that it would be a win-win strategy as the next assembly elections would throw up a hung assembly and no political party could form a government by ignoring KJP.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Yeddyurappa said, “When I had decided to resign from the post of chief minister, 75 MLAs had followed me to the Raj Bhavan to submit the resignation. In the same spirit, my followers have supported me by attending the meeting... All the member of legislative assembly, council and MPs have expressed their willingness to cooperate with me. As we had played an important role in selection of Jagadish Shettar for the post of chief minister, a decision has been taken to not bring down the government.”
Replying to a question on whether he is going to resign, Yeddyurappa said, “I have already made it clear that i am going to launch the new party on December 10. On the same day, I am going to submit my resignation from the MLA’s post and primary membership of the BJP. None of my supporters will give resignation on that day.”
Major irrigation minister Basavaraj Bommai, who was one of those who attended the meeting, said Yeddyurappa would decide on whether his followers in the BJP were to attend the rally on December 10.
City MLAs skip meet
Some of the city MLAs who were associated with Yeddyurappa till recently were not present in the meeting at his house on Tuesday. SR Vishwanath, MLA from Yelahanka, NS Nandish Reddy from KR Puram and member of parliament from Bangalore Central PC Mohan were among the prominent ones who remained absent.
However, five of his followers called Yeddyurappa and explained why they could not come.