Once snubbed, now back in the spotlight, BSY s return may be too late

By M.K. Ashoka Bengaluru, March 19 : The saffron party made it to power through 'Operation Lotus' in Karnataka. The BJP could grab power through the efforts of former chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa, who emerged as the unquestioned leader of the Lingayat community. After his ouster, the saffron party has failed miserably to create a mass leader who can replace Yediyurappa in Karnataka. At the age of 80, Yediyurappa, once snubbed badly by the party and not allowed to go on state tours, is now given a free hand to travel across the state. Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to Shivamogga to inaugurate the newly built airport, a dream project of Yediyurappa. He showered praises on him and acknowledged his services to the party. "Yediyurappa sacrificed his entire lifetime for the party," he stated. Union Home Minister Amit Shah waited for Yediyurappa to arrive on the platform. The central leaders openly claimed that the next government will be formed as per the wishes of Yediyurappa. However, Yediyurappa is focussed on his son B.Y. Vijayendra's future prospects in the BJP. Vijayendra is presently a vice president of the party. Yediyurappa wants his son to take forward his legacy. However, this has left the party leaders fuming and led to infighting within the BJP. Yediyurappa has appealed to the Lingayat community that they should not have any bitter feelings towards the BJP for asking him to step down from the post of CM. Yediyurappa, who comes from a socialist background, has never pursued hardcore Hindutva in state politics. His agitations and struggles have always been on farmers' issues and the poor. He had upset the Hindutva forces by stating that he will initiate strict action against those who will target the Muslim community. He had made this statement during the Covid period, when Muslims were targeted for allegedly spreading the infection. Yediyurappa has stated openly in the state executive committee meeting that the elections in Karnataka cannot be won only on PM Modi's name and shocked the party. He challenged the party under Lal Krishna Advani's leadership and got the chief ministers of his choice much to the chagrin of the party and the RSS. His influence over the masses didn't diminish even as Yediyurappa was jailed on alleged corruption charges. He broke away from the BJP and launched his own party, the Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP) and secured 10 per cent votes dealing a body blow to the BJP. Realizing his potential and with no parallel leadership in the party, the BJP high command took him into its fold. Yediyurappa managed to get the maximum seats and through 'Operation Lotus' brought the BJP to power ensuring the collapse of the JD (S) and Congress coalition government. In spite of facing corruption and favouritism allegations, Yediyurappa is still the winning horse for the state BJP. However, sources close to him state that the move by the party has come a little late. Chief Minister Bommai stated, "Yediyurappa fought for 35 years without power. Only two leaders, late Ramakrishna Hegde, and Yediyurappa created mass leadership in Karnataka politics. There is no question of his retirement as the people will not allow him to retire. He has a permanent place in the hearts of people. His services will be available to the state in different forms. The need of the hour is for nation-building leaders." "Yediyurappa always fought against injustice and never dreamt of becoming the CM. He won the love and confidence of the people by serving them continuously. His mantra is self-confidence and strength and is ready to take on even the whole world," stated Bommai. It remains to be seen how well the strategy of the BJP works for the party in the upcoming elections. /IANS


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