Seeking to give momentum to his stated objective to float a regional party, former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa on Friday installed his loyalist V Dhananjaya Kumar as President of Karnataka Janatha Paksha (KJP) as he prepared to officially quit the BJP next month.
Kumar, who served as minister of state for finance and textiles in the NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was expelled from BJP recently after he launched a broad-side against Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar.
KJP sources said he would serve as interim President and Yeddyurappa would take over the party leadership after KJP is formally launched at a rally at Haveri, some 350 km from here on December 9, with the former Chief Minister snapping ties with the BJP by then.
He said KJP is a registered state political party. It came into being only last year and has not contested elections so far. Its President Prasanna Kumar resigned from the post today, paving the way for Kumar to take over. "As Yeddyurappa has said he will snap ties with the BJP, we are fervently pleading with him to come and join the KJP and lead it and guide and bless us", Kumar told reporters.
"We are confident that Yeddyurappa will soon join us and lead us".
He charged the national parties – Congress and BJP – with not responding properly to regional problems and gave the recent Cauvery river water sharing row as an example, alleging that the two outfits failed to "utter a single word" in support of Karnataka’s interests. "Our strong belief is that we need a regional party", he said.
KJP also announced is office-bearers. MD Lakshminarayana and KH Srinivasa were appointed general secretary and senior vice-president, respectively. Yeddyurappa has repeatedly said in the last few weeks that his decision to quit the BJP is final and the question of reviewing it does not arise.