The war of words between the Guru and Shishya never seem to end. Sadananda Gowda who became the Chief Minister of Karnataka with the blessings of B S Yeddyurappa appears to have fallen out with his mentor. There has been a flurry of words between the two since the past few days. Sadananda Gowda has however decided to take the matter to another level and has been cozying up to the Lingayat community which had once called B S Yeddyurappa as their undisputed leader.
The party boss, Nithin Gadkari will be here in Bangalore tomorrow for a high level meeting of the Karnataka BJP workers. But will issues pertaining to the party be discussed or would be another round of peace talks which Gadkari would have to once again over see?
Ever since Yeddyurappa stepped down as the Chief Minister of Karnataka there has been an attempt by some leaders in the party to side line him. However Yeddyurappa has been adamant has decided that he would not sit quiet until he is given an important position in the party. He ran a parallel force within the party while claiming that he enjoys the support of 60 MLAs. However his biggest confidence was the support that he enjoyed with the Lingayat community who considered him to be their undisputed leader.
It is a well known fact that the Lingayat community with a 17 per cent vote share is a major player in any election. Yeddyurappa who began every programme with a visit to the Tumkur Siddaganga Mutt, the mother of all Lingayat mutts had become extremely possessive about the status he enjoyed with this community. The BJP too was well aware that they needed to deal with Yeddyurappa with velvet gloves due to this support.
However today one gets to see a turn of events and there is a deliberate attempt that is being made by Sadananda Gowda himself to erode into that support base enjoyed by his mentor. He started the war of words by calling him a narada muni. Yeddyurappa retorted by calling Gowda as a CM by luck. Moreover there has been a coming together of Jagadish Shettar and Gowda in the past couple of months and this has been a worrying factor for Yeddyurappa. Shettar not only is a major leader in the party, but is also a Lingayat. Yeddyurappa had infact opposed tooth and nail the selection of Shettar as the Chief Minister as he knew that Shettar would first erode into his Lingayat support base. He did manage to wade away that threat and installed Gowda as the Chief Minister, but today even in his wildest of dreams he did not expect that his boy would turn against him and worse try and muster up the support of the Lingayat community.
The Lingayat community has however not been too vocal about the turn of events. There is a section of the community which still subscribe to Yeddyurappa, but the bigger worry is the deathly silence on part of the Siddaganga Mutt, the mother of all mutts on this issue. Very recently at a function at the Siddaganga Mutt, Yeddyurappa was not invited. The indications of trouble brewing for him was clear. Then there was another programme at Gokak town at Panchamashali convention in which Gowda and state party chief, K S Eshwarappa were present. Some of the community leaders even took at a dig at Yeddyurappa blaming him for doing little for the community.
Yeddyurappa may still have the support of this community but he is surely a worried man as the Siddaganga Mutt episode could be quite a turning point for him. There is in no way that he can take this lightly since this mutt accounts does have control over at least 15 per cent of the 17 per cent Lingayat vote share in Karnataka.
Yeddyurappa has now decided to go on the offensive. He says that the attempts to keep the Lingayats away from him is a wasted effort as he still is their undisputed leader. Some top leaders are trying to divide the community and I have been told about this, but their attempts will not succeed. The Lingayats have stood by me in tough times and they will not let go of me, but those trying these tricks will leave the party soon he said.
There clearly is a big battle on in the Karnataka BJP. The anti Yeddyurappa faction is of the view that he has been arrogant, adamant and has been running a parallel within the party. Shettar and Gowda also feel that Yeddyurappa daily bickering and pin pricks are getting too over bearing. He has been very defiant and it is high time he understands that it is very difficult to accommodate him when there are so many pending cases of corruption against him.
Yeddyurappa on the other hand has been stepping up the pressure and go to the meeting with Gadkari tomorrow seeking a more active role in the party. His supporters say that they would appraise Gadkari about how Gowda and the rest are trying to sideline Yeddyurappa.
Gadkari will be in Bangalore until 25th and his purpose of the visit was to discuss the following issues- pump up the party image, prepare for the by-elections and also get ready for the assembly elections next year. Will these issues be discussed or not considering this embarrassing battle that is on would have to be seen in the next two days.