B S Yeddyurappa has promised the Bharatiya Janata Party that he will deliver Bellary to the party. The former Chief Minister will start campaigning for the BJP against Sriramulu from Tuesday onwards and the question being asked is how important is this election for the BJP and Yeddyurappa.
One may think that this election is a battle for pride for Yeddyurappa, but his aides make it clear that this result would have no bearing on his political career. Yeddyurappa however has given a very confident statement to the media in which he says that he will deliver Bellary 101 per cent to the BJP.
While Bellary is one issue, for Yeddyurappa and his camp they would want a weak BJP government in Karnataka. This has become a battle between Yeddyurappa and the rest of the BJP and the man himself would want a bit of destability in the government so that he emerges as the main leader.
All trends according to the Yeddyurappa faction show that the sympathy wave in Karnataka is very much in his favour. According to them he has been sidelined by the party despite single handedly building it and it is also felt that he has been given a raw deal.
Although everything looks peaceful within the party today, there is a constant tussle on thanks to Yeddyurappa seeking the post of party president. He has been telling the central leadership to appoint him as the party’s leader. In the aftermath of the same he would like to tour the entire state and rebuild the party.
A strong BJP would prove fatal for Yeddyurappa today. The party is clear that it would like to continue in this manner and project either Sadananda Gowda or K S Eshwarappa as the next leader. However Yeddyurappa would like to destablise the BJP within the next 6 months. His idea would be to go to polls in the next 6 months. Even the BJP is aware that he is riding the sympathy wave and any election immediately would mean that they would have to depend only on him to face the public. Currently the BJP does not have any leader whom they could project and hence would require over a year to prepare an alternate to Yeddyurappa.
Bellary is being considered as the acid test for Yeddyurappa and many feel that a loss here would dent his image as a star campaigner. However the Yeddyurappa camp is very clear and would take advantage of the situation even if they win or lose. He would surely capitalise in case the BJP were to win in Bellary. He also has an answer ready for his party in case they lose. In Bellary rural there are 60 per cent of the people from the BC while the remaning 40 per cent comprises Lingayats. In case the BJP would lose that would mean that the Lingayats have not voted in favour of the BJP. In such an event Yeddyurappa would say that the Lingayats were upset that he has not been made the party leader and hence they lost the poll.
Although Yeddyurappa would want an election in the state in the next 6 months, he is not making any loud noises about the same. He would want it to be a quiet affair since he would not want the blame for an fall of the party. He would like the government to fall on its own and then expect that the party fights the election under his leadership.
Although Yeddyurappa may just have his way at the end of it, the biggest danger for him are the cases against him in the court. They appears to be a quietus on all his cases for now and this has put him in an advantageous position for now. However the entire scenario may change if the courts were to play truant with him.
Coming back to the issue of destablising the BJP in Karnataka, the Yeddyurappa camp would secretly hope that Sriramulu wins this election. This win would put them in a very aggressive mood and they would think of floating a new party. This would also depend largely on the release of Janardhan Reddy from jail and a decision to float a new party would be taken only then. In case they decide to launch a new party then they would automatically pull out a couple of MLAs from the BJP which would mean the government in the state would weaken much to the liking of Yeddyurappa.
However the Yeddyurappa camp has made it very clear that they would never enter into any tie up with Sriramulu and would prefer to battle from within the BJP itself. Moving out of the BJP would dent Yeddyurappa’s image a great deal and he would like to project himself as a fighter rather than a person who has dumped the party and run away.
While Yeddyurappa would want an election in the next 6 months, the BJP would like to wait at least one year. In Karnataka, the BJP can today afford to take all such decisions on its own thanks to the fact both the Congress and the JD(S) are just not ready for an election.